By David Mugabe, Jeff Lule and Andrew Ssenyonga
Ugandans living in chronic poverty, a condition characterised by extreme want and deprivation for basic human needs, have reduced to about 10% from 26% in the last five years.
This represents about 3.4 million Ugandans, of which 63.3% are children (below 18 years), 32.4% adults (18-59) and 4.3% are elderly persons (aged 60 years and more), according to a new study.
The study was carried out by Development Research and Training, a local NGO, but was analysed by Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) based at Makerere University.
According to the report just released, the people in the chronic poverty category stay captive for a long period of time. Some of the indicators that characterise this chronic state include lack of access to health, education, human rights and other services.
While the report focuses on chronic poverty, it makes a distinction between this category of poverty and the official poverty, which fell significantly from 28.5% in 2005/6 to 23.9% in 2009/10. The report notes that under the income poverty approach, the proportion of poor households reduced from 25.1% in 2005/6 to 20.5% in 2009/10.
“As expected, chronic poverty is a rural phenomenon, with nearly 12% of the households living in chronic poverty. Northern region has the highest incidence of chronic poverty that stood at almost 26.4%,” the report says.
“There is compelling evidence that the high population growth is impacting on the Government’s poverty reduction efforts,” says the report.
“The figure (research) shows a declining trend from 26% to 10% but other indicators did not improve much,” Paul Onapa, a research fellow at DTR, said.
What has not improved for people in the 10% category, according to the research authors, are other human development indicators like infant and maternal mortality and income among others.
Onapa says during the period from 2005 to 2010, the income of the average rural Ugandan increased from sh1.8m to sh2.1m which also drove consumption up.
The research indicates that chronic poverty will continue to pose a huge challenge to achieve MDGS. Close to 50% of those who are poor are in the chronic poverty category.
The report was released at Hotel Africana on Saturday and was carried out in 72 districts countrywide.
The DTR executive director, Beatrice Mugambe, attributed the reduction to the Government’s interventions