‘About 200, 000 Gambians vulnerable to food insecurity’

Ms Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje made this revelation at a day’s UNDP-sponsored development forum convened to proffer remedies for inequality and poverty while promoting inclusive growth in The Gambia, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

She said: “There remains critical challenges…Close to 48.4 per cent of Gambians are below the income poverty of 1.25 dollars a day. About 200, 000 people are vulnerable to food insecurity, only 44.5 per cent of the population have access to electricity and only around 39.8 per cent of the population have access to the improved sanitation facilities. These numbers convey an important message of inclusivity indicating the relatively high growth rates over the last decades have not been fully inclusive, and that the poorest and most vulnerable peoples continue to face significant development challenges.

“Inequality in all its forms has a negative impact on the well-being of the people and the prospects of society as a whole. Income inequality impedes long-term growth prospect and dampens the poverty-reducing impact of growth. It is associated with a host of poorer social outcomes, ranging from low health status and educational achievement to high crime rate. Inequalities can also generate political instability; erode social cohesion and government legitimacy; and undermine capacity for decision-making necessary for reform.”

Ade stated that extreme poverty reduction trend stretches back to 1990 from 58 per cent in 1990 to 48.4 per cent 2010. 

She added: “A recent study conducted by UNDP and the Ministry of Finance and Economic affairs using the cutting age measurement of the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and the latest Demographic Health Survey (DHS 2013) indicate that all dimensions of poverty is on the decline in The Gambia. The multi-dimensional poverty headcount decreased from 60.4 per cent in 2006 to 57 per cent in 2013; poverty intensity, measuring simultaneous deprivations of the poor, has declined from 53.6 percent to 51 per cent during the same period. More than 89.6 percent of Gambian households now have access to safe drinking water. Important progress on gender equality, including education, employment and has also been made.”

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