According to the report by the World Poverty Clock, real-time data projections show that about 28 Ghanaians escape extreme poverty every hour, giving the country a fairly positive rank on the continent and in the world.
Despite the significant number of persons identified to be living below the poverty line, the report shows that the country is on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal 1 of ending poverty in all forms by 2030.
Ghana was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce poverty by half, as expected by the Millennium Development Goal 1. That notwithstanding, many of its people, especially in rural areas such as those in the Northern part of the country, live in extreme poverty.
In urban areas, extreme poverty is evident in inequalities of access to social infrastructure including education and healthcare. Other features of extreme poverty in rural areas include low income, social exclusion, and high vulnerability to disasters and diseases. Ethiopia is only African country that shares the same status with Ghana in Africa as of August 2018 with an expectation that both countries will be able to reduce extreme poverty to at least 3% of their respective populations.
A cursory mapping of the extreme poverty trends in Ghana shows a gradual decline over the past decade. Between 1991 and 2014, poverty levels had dropped by over 50%. As of 2014, 24% of Ghana’s population, representing 6.4 million people, were considered poor.
Despite this achievement which has been attributed to the various social and pro-poor interventions by successive governments, there are fears that the country’s success concerning extreme poverty escape rate may reduce and perhaps reverse if the rising unemployment situation and increasing cost of living are not urgently addressed.
How other African countries are faring
Oil-rich Nigeria has been marked red as being in danger of not meeting the SDG target as the number of persons living in extreme poverty keeps soaring.
It is successfully toppled India to also become the leading country in extreme poverty in the world. Of its 197 million population, 87 million are reported to be living in extreme poverty, with at least 5 people becoming extremely poor every hour. Other countries in the league with Nigeria that show rising level of extreme poverty are Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, South Sudan, Chad, Niger, Angola, Central African Republic and Zambia,
The data however shows that South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau are currently not on target of meeting the SDG goal given their current extreme poverty escape rate. The report found that in Gabon, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, less than 3% of their respective populations lived in extreme poverty.
While in the UK, and despite being a developed country, those who are living at the lower end of the income distribution in the United Kingdom have a relatively low standard of living. Data based on incomes published in 2016 by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that, after housing costs have been taken into consideration, the number of people living in the UK in relative poverty to be 13.44m (21% of the population) In 2015, a report by Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that 21.6% of Britons were now in relative poverty. The report showed that there had been a fall in poverty in the first few years of the twenty-first century, but the rate of poverty had remained broadly flat since 2004/5.
Over 14 million people, about one in five of the UK population are in poverty, according to the Joseph Rountree Foundation. Of them 8.2 million are working-age adults, 4.1 million are children and 1.9 million are pensioners. Eight million people live in poverty in families where at least one person is working.
It has been found by the Poverty and Social Exclusion project at Bristol University in 2014, that the proportion of households lacking three items or activities deemed necessary for life in the UK at that time (as defined by a survey of the wider population) has increased from 14% in 1983 to 33% in 2012.
In 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights found that UK Government policies and cuts to social support “are entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery.” However, his report was rejected by the UK Government, pointing to rising household incomes, declining income inequality and one million people fewer in absolute poverty since 2010