Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ugandan poverty drops 15 percent in five years

According to government statistics, Uganda has experienced a big drop in poverty levels in only five years. Uganda's official statistics department attribute the drop to a discovery of oil in the north, and a calming of warfare from the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. The reduction in poverty is by 15 percent from 8.4 million people in 2005 to 7.1 million today.

From Reuters, writer Elias Biryabarema gives us more of the Ugandan statistics.

Uganda's economy has been invigorated by the discovery of commercial oil deposits in the Albertine Rift basin on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.

The lead explorer, Tullow Oil , has said it expects to start commercial production in the last quarter of 2011, although a lingering tax dispute risks pushing back that target.

"Growth effect contributed more to poverty reduction than redistribution. In other words, poverty reduction continues to be driven by growth," one of the report's authors, Sarah Ssewanyana, said in a commentary.

With an estimated population of about 31 million, Uganda has maintained a strong growth momentum over the last decade, spurred by liberal economic policies, an expanding private sector and a steady inflow of aid and foreign investment.

The government forecasts growth will hit 6.7 percent in the 2010-11 (July-June) financial year and economic analysts say the anticipated petrodollar bonanza will turbo charge economic expansion and accelerate the reduction in poverty.

"Despite significant reduction in poverty, the northern region remains a home for the majority of the poor," Ssewanyana said. According to the survey, poverty levels there stood at 46.2 percent, down from 60.7 percent in the 2005-06 survey.

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