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Poverty levels still high – World Bank Report

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Despite decline in extreme poverty, billions of people in the world still struggle to meet basic needs, the latest World Bank report shows. 
According to the report, economic advances around the world mean that while fewer people live in extreme poverty some 3.4 billion people still struggle to meet basic needs, living on less than $3.20 (Sh323) per day.



The biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity report titled “Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle” will be released worldwide today
An earlier report released in April indicated Kenya will not eradicate poverty by 2030.
“At the current pace of poverty reduction, about one percentage point per year, Kenya cannot eradicate poverty by 2030,” World Bank poverty economist and lead author of the update’s special section on poverty commented.
A June report by World Poverty Clock indicates 14.62 million Kenyans, or 29.2 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty. It also singled out Lamu, Nakuru, Nairobi and Kirinyaga as the only counties with no extreme poverty recorded, at less than three per cent.

In its latest report, World Bank says that more than half of the extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the number of poor in the region increasing by 9 million to 413 million people living on less than US$1.90 a day as at 2015, more than all the other regions combined. 
The report says that if the trend continues, by 2030, nearly 9 out of 10 extreme poor will be in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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The majority of the global poor live in rural areas, are poorly educated, employed in the agricultural sector, and under 18 years of age. 
“Living on less than $3.20 per day reflects poverty lines in lower-middle-income countries, while $5.50(Sh555) a day reflects standards in upper-middle-income countries,” says the report.
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Import route block throws Ethiopia into fuel scarcity.

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The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has been hit by a severe fuel shortage as at Tuesday (January 15), multiple local media outlets have reported.

Unusually long queues have been formed outside fuel stations that have supplies with many motorists waiting for hours to buy fuel. Government has yet to respond to the development.



The shortage is largely blamed on a current blockage on the road that links Ethiopia and Djibouti. Ethiopia, a regional economic giant imports most of its supplies through the Djiboutian ports.

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The blockage is staged by young people in the Afar region who are protesting against violent incidents reportedly perpetrated by an ethnic group of Somali extraction.

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The blockage was specifically in the cities of Semera and Awash with pictures showing people sitting right in the middle of the road with loaded trucks parked on either side.

A local portal said protesters were unhappy about a move that saw the federal government withdraw the region’s special forces from areas where the violence happened.

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South Africa Stands 77th in global economic freedom index.

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South Africa has been ranked 77th out of 100 world countries in economic freedom by the Heritage Foundation.



In terms of economic freedom, the Heritage Foundation indicates that with a world rank of 77/180, South Africa is 4th in the African region. The country’s over-all economic freedom score improved with 0.7 in 2017.

General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa, Dr Petrus de Kock, said the index provides some insight into dimensions of the South African economic environment as the country continues to grapple with historical challenges, and the need to spur on entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Notable improvements for South Africa in 2018 include the improvement in the area of investment freedom, and judicial effectiveness. The latter is significant coming in a year where the administration of President Ramaphosa made investment a key focal area of its work,” said de Kock.

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South Africa’s improvement in the rankings comes as a result of advancements in the areas of property rights which is up from 67.6 in 2017 to 67.7 for 2018; judicial effectiveness increased from 59.7 in 2017 to 65.9; fiscal health sees an improvement of +4.6 from 70.7 in 2017; business freedom advanced by +3.1 points from 62.0 in 2017; labour freedom improved by +1.2 in 2018 from 58.9 in 2017; and investment freedom significantly improved by +10.0 from 40.0 in 2017. Notable is South Africa ranks higher than two European nations, being – Italy (79/180), and Greece (115/180).

On the global front based on the measurements of this index, the Heritage Foundation finds that the global average economic freedom score is 61.1, the highest score since inception of the index 24 years ago.

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At an aggregate level, of the 180 economies measured by the index in 2018 – 102 scored better, while the economic freedom scores of 75 got worse. In the case of South Africa it can be noted that the country is one of the 102 that improved its economic freedom score.

Released on an annual basis by the Heritage Foundation, the Index of Economic Freedom provides insight into the extent to which governments enable an open and unrestricted economic environment for citizens and businesses to operate in.

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