Central African Republic Poverty Assessment 2023 – A roadmap towards poverty reduction in the Central African Republic (October 2023) – Central African Republic

Central African Republic Poverty Assessment 2023 – A roadmap towards poverty reduction in the Central African Republic (October 2023) – Central African Republic

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Strengthening agriculture and food system resilience is critical to reducing poverty in the Central African Republic: World Bank report

Bangui, November 16, 2023 – Reviving agriculture is critical to boosting economic growth and addressing widespread extreme poverty in the Central African Republic, says the World Bank’s first report on assessing poverty in the country.

With 70% of the country’s working-age population dependent on agriculture, agricultural reform provides the most direct way to improve livelihoods and feed people, says the report released today.

Plagued by decades of conflict, political instability and low growth, the Central African Republic has one of the highest poverty rates in the world – with nearly 7 in 10 people living in extreme poverty (65.7% living on less than $2.15 a day). More than half of them are unable to do so, and the report finds that they are able to provide enough food, even if they devote all their consumption to it.

Among a population of more than six million, many suffer from severe non-monetary deprivation – nearly nine in 10 people do not have access to electricity; The secondary school enrollment rate does not exceed 16%; Only 2.5% of the country’s roads are paved.

“The urgent need to stimulate economic growth and lift Central Africans out of poverty cannot be stressed enough. Revitalizing agriculture, with broader support measures to provide social safety nets for the most vulnerable groups, develop human capital, and stimulate private sector development, will be essential.” ” Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for West and Central Africa, said.

The report provides new data to help better target development and social policies and programs to reach the most vulnerable groups. The report sets out a roadmap to address poverty with a focus on strengthening agriculture as a critical step towards generating economic growth and reducing food insecurity. Rain-fed agriculture is widespread throughout the country, with cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and millet being the main staple crops. These activities are also likely to be vulnerable to climate-related shocks.

However, agricultural productivity is low, hampered by a lack of access to key inputs (such as fertilisers, irrigation and equipment) and markets (lack of paved roads and limited trade). This underscores the importance of investing in infrastructure to improve farmers’ access to markets to enhance agricultural productivity and enhance livelihoods.

The report proposes urgent and long-term initiatives to promote and sustain pro-poor growth and lift the people of the Central African Republic out of poverty. These include enhancing:

Safety nets: Social safety nets can help address the immediate need to lift Central Africans out of particularly severe deprivations and protect them from shocks. Currently, only 1% of Central Africans live in a household that receives government cash transfers, and 14.3% live in a household that receives support in the form of food. As a result, Central Africans have adopted adaptation strategies – including reducing their food consumption – that may undermine investments in physical and human capital.

Human capital: Policies to build human capital, through investments in education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, can help stimulate sustainable poverty reduction efforts. Developing human capital and basic infrastructure can reduce monetary poverty. It is unfortunate that many Central African citizens live far from school, especially in remote and rural areas, especially at the secondary level. This is linked to low school enrollment rates and high poverty rates.

Infrastructure and trade: About 1 in 10 citizens in Central Africa need to walk more than an hour to reach a main, secondary or tertiary road. Infrastructure development, especially electricity and roads, and macroeconomic reforms to boost trade and private investment can improve the foundations of poverty reduction.

Peace and security: Promoting peace and security is also crucial, and all poverty reduction policies must be formulated taking into account displacement and the conflict-affected environment in the Central African Republic.

“Maintaining the momentum in data collection can help design, implement, monitor and evaluate the specific policies needed to improve the quality of life of the people of the Central African Republic,” said Luis Felipe López Calva, World Bank Global Director for Sustainable Development. Global practice of poverty and equity.

The Poverty Assessment uses unparalleled microdata to develop practical policies to lift Central Africans out of poverty. The report relies primarily on the 2021 Harmonized Data on Household Living Conditions Survey, which is the first household survey suitable for measuring poverty to be conducted in the Central African Republic in more than a decade. The EHCVM, implemented in partnership with the Central African Institute of Statistics, Economic and Social Studies (ICEES in French) and UNHCR, collected data on a wide range of socio-economic indicators including from internally displaced populations in the Central African Republic.

Press release number: 2023/025/AFW

Contacts
In Bangui:
boris Ngwaguni,
+236 7513 5080
pngouagouni@worldbank.org

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