Poverty persists in rural Senegal

Poverty persists in rural Senegal

Poverty is widespread in the rural areas of Senegal (57.3%) than in other urban areas (41.3%) and Dakar (26.1%), according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

UNDP Senegal chief Fatou B Djibo says this is due to, among others, the reduction of agricultural productivity, lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, poor and vulnerable people’s access to funding sources and energy services, and limited access of women to productive resources.

Provisional results of the survey on 2010-2011 poverty show that poverty in Senegal has slightly dropped by 1.6 percent, from 48.3 percent in 2005 to 46.7 percent in 2011, according to UNDP.

Senegal is forging ahead to implement its newly-approved Document de Politique Economique et Sociale (DPES) meant to create wealth, reduce poverty, and accelerate access to basic social services, including education and health.

The World Bank’s Development Research Group says this year that estimates for 2010 global poverty was half its 1990 level, giving credit to China for taking 660 million people out of poverty since 1981.

Senegal, which has benefited from the good faith of several aid agencies, also got help from the UNDP which said to have invested heavily in fighting poverty.

Djibo cited the following achievements:

  • The creation of 130 small businesses per year for graduates of technical and vocational training colleges, generating hundreds of direct jobs and  indirect jobs
  • Funding community initiatives for vulnerable groups (women, disabled and people living with HIV/Aids) in favour of 4046 beneficiaries
  • Supporting new farmers who have adopted new farming techniques in about 23 farms organised into cooperatives of agricultural entrepreneurs, thus generating 530 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs,
  • And lastly, funding 324 multifunctional platforms involving women’s projects in the sector of food processing and diversification of energy sources, which created about 1296 direct jobs and 5000 indirect jobs.

Senegal Minister of Economy and Finances Amadou Kane says that the 2013-1017 DPES will have two main priorities, the creation of jobs for youth and women, and food security – all tied up with the millennium development goals (MDGs), whose main focus is to reduce poverty and hunger in the world.

Food and nutrition crises in Senegal have grown in frequency and severity in recent years, mostly driven by sporadic rainfall, insufficient local harvests, and high food prices, the government of Canada says, adding that over 800 000 people, or six percent of the population, including 120 000 children under five, are at risk of suffering from food shortages or currently suffering from malnutrition.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has last month pledged 20 million USD over three years (2012-2015) to support food security and nutrition projects in Senegal.

Senegal, a lower middle income country, has to reach a 34 percent poverty target by 2015 as outlined by the principles of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Most jobs in Senegal are created by the informal sector, which accounts for 80 percent to 97 percent of jobs created, the African Economic Outlook reveals, citing a 2007 World Bank report and a 2009 Youth Employment Network and International Youth Foundation study. 

Photo: Counterpart.org

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