Poverty Archives - ROAPE
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Poverty Tag

Recently the World Bank published a paper on poverty in Rwanda. The aim of the paper was to deal with the debate started in 2015 by Filip Reyntjens, and which continues on roape.net, on the reliability of Rwandan poverty statistics. Despite the objectives, when properly calculated, the evidence presented by the World Bank actually strongly supports the claim that poverty has increased in Rwanda. Yet the selective and even misleading presentation of supporting empirical evidence by the World Bank is, to say the least, disturbing. Our Rwanda experts ask if the World Bank is guilty of a worrying level of leniency and incompetence, or outright complicity in the manipulation of Rwanda’s official statistics. In September 2018, the World Bank published a paper entitled ‘Revisiting the Poverty Trend in Rwanda 2010/11-2013/14’, the stated aim of which was to resolve [i.e. shut down?] the debate initiated three years...

The public debate on South Africa’s ‘social grant saga’ portrays the case as a typical example of political corruption, personal incompetence and corporate greed. However, as Lena Gronbach argues, behind the headlines is an agenda developed by the World Bank in the early 2000s, which sees poverty as a problem of financial exclusion and restrictive financial markets, rather than the result of deeper structural issues and the lack of a regular and adequate income. This has been nothing short of a fundamental shift in development policy. By Lena Gronbach In 2012 South Africa’s Social Security Agency SASSA appointed Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), a private financial service provider, as the sole paymaster for the country’s extensive and rapidly expanding social grant programme. This move was designed to address concerns about payment efficiency, high levels of grant fraud, and the fragmented nature of the previous provincial grant payment system...

In South Africa ten members of a militant shack dwellers organisation have been assassinated in the past six years. Yet many progressive organisations have distanced themselves from these militants. Jared Sacks exposes the complicity of a mainstream NGO that could have played an important role defending the movement against these political assassinations. Sacks argues that when movements refuse co-optation, repression, including assassination, become necessary to maintain power. By Jared Sacks On 12 June this year, at an Executive Committee meeting of the eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa), the Mayor and Chief Whip made a number of veiled threats against the South African shack dweller movement Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM). The threats included references to a conspiratorial ‘third hand’ controlling the movement, harkening back to apartheid intelligence services patronage of the right-wing nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party in what effectively turned KwaZulu Natal (KZN) into a war zone. After...

In a major contribution to roape.net, Zsuzsánna Biedermann analyses the complex reasons behind the largely fruitless diversification efforts in Botswana. Many African countries abundant in non-renewable natural resources experience the harmful effects associated with the extensive role oil, mining or gas extraction plays in their economies. Even if Botswana’s initial development based on diamond mining was spectacular, there is mounting proof that the Botswana Democratic Party - the country’s governing party since independence – has been deeply intertwined with the De Beers diamond mining cartel. Development, industrialisation and diversification remains a frustrating and elusive goal for the country....

After the manifest failure of microcredit to address poverty in Africa and everywhere else, the international development community has hit upon a new microcredit-related idea that, it claims, will do the job this time around: ‘fin-tech’, i.e. financial technology. In this blogpost Milford Bateman argues fin-tech has the potential to gravely undermine the position of the poor and to increase inequality while, not coincidentally, vastly enriching a narrow elite. ...

Yohannes Woldemariam discusses the major challenges confronting Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. Tackling the deep structural weaknesses at the heart of Ethiopia’s economy and its so-called ‘revolutionary developmentalism’, will be a key test. Woldemariam also considers the country’s new relationship with Eritrea and the regional and international pressures playing out in Ethiopia’s new political landscape....

Remi Adekoya reviews a new book on the exploitation and underdevelopment of Africa. Extracting Profits by Lee Wengraf is a treasure-trove of facts and figures about Africa for anyone interested in the political economy of Africa’s past, present and future. However, Adekoya argues that for any systemic change to occur on the continent there must be a shift in the mind-set of those in charge, otherwise all that will be achieved is the replacement of one set of looters by another, only this time holding up different slogans....