UN report says Malawi poverty worse

Poverty in Malawi is worsening according to this year’s Human Development Report which has shown the country dropping from 10th to the 11th poorest nation in the world.
The report, launched yesterday in Lilongwe, ranks Malawi at position 166 out of the 177 countries of the world. Last year the country was ranked at 165.
Malawi is grouped with 30 other countries as having a low human development index.
The report, whose theme is ‘Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis’, further estimates that over 65 percent of the country’s 12 million people live below the national poverty line of less than one US dollar (about K140) a day.
According to the report, the maternal mortality rate—which is over 1,100 per 100,000 live births, increased poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water and child mortality are some of the distressing indicators.
The report calls on countries to spend a minimum of 1 percent of their GDP on water and sanitation and ensure that water is a human right to meet the basic needs of drinking, cooking, washing and farming for food security.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Michael Keating said Malawi has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world, high dropout rates for girls, and between 27 to 30 percent of the population has no access to clean water.
He said lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation have accounted for high child mortality, affected school enrolment and increased water-borne diseases.
Keating, however, said Malawi is doing well in adult literacy.
Launching the report, Irrigation and Water Development Minister Sidik Mia said access to water supply and sanitation remain a great challenge which, he said, pose a great impediment to the socioeconomic development of the countryAccording to Mia, only 60 percent of people have access to clean water and 27 percent to improved sanitation.
“Having such a large population without access to proper water and sanitation apart from being socially unacceptable poses impediment on the socioeconomic development of the country due to the impact this poses on health, education and agriculture, among others,” said Mia.
The minister, however, said government has placed water development among its priorities, manifested in increased budgetary allocation

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