Over 83% of Ethiopians suffer from multidimensional poverty

A report launched today by the United Nations Development Organization (UNDP) listed Ethiopia among the poor scoring countries in the world with over 83% of its population are suffering from multidimensional poverty.

Poor living conditions, health and education are mentioned as basic elements contributing to multidimensional poverty, according to Human Development Report 2019 launched in Addis this morning.



Ethiopia’s score is even less than the Sub-Saharan average, according to the report that shows the neighboring African countries such as, Uganda and Rwanda have been doing much better than Ethiopia.

The report says some people might be multidimensionally poor even if they live above the monetary poverty line. The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) covers 101 countries, home to 77% of the world’s population, or 5.7 billion people.

Some 23% of these people (1.3 billion) are multidimensionally poor. The MPI data illustrate the challenge of addressing overlapping deprivations: 83% of all multidimensionally poor live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, 67% in middle income countries, 85% in rural areas and 46% in severe poverty.

Poor people in rural areas tend to have deprivations in both education and access to water, sanitation, electricity and housing.

“But the challenges extend to urban areas, too: Child mortality and malnutrition are more common in urban areas. Sub-Saharan Africa has the most overlapping MPI deprivations—with more than half the populations of Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan experiencing severe multidimensional poverty, with 50% or more of overlapping deprivations,” the report stated.

Meanwhile the report states that inequality in Ethiopia has been declining tremendously over the past year.

“This general trend can be explained by the decline of inequality in two of the most populous countries, Ethiopia and Kenya. The overall decline was drastic in Ethiopia, where the incomes of the bottom 40% grew 48% points more than the average,” the report stated, indicating that inequality has risen in most other countries in East Africa.

Entitled, “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today,” the report looks into the relation between inequality and human development and the need to avoid transfer of inequality to the next generation.

“…If we focus only on income to deal with inequality, we will miss a lot,” says Turhan Saleh, UNDP Ethiopia Country Representative, who along with his colleagues presented the report to journalists.

“There are many dimensions to inequality. When we talk about inequality, we have to look at issue like health, education, dignity or respect to human rights. It is about beyond income. It is also beyond averages. Averages conceal a lot of differences in population at particular point in time and across time. So if we don’t look at those issues, we will miss very important dimensions of inequality,” he said, indicating that inequality today has also great impact in the future if not addressed properly and immediately.

He stated that a lot of countries in the world have been addressing the basic capabilities or the extreme deprivations – the lack of access to water, the lack of access to primary education and very high-level of infant and under 5 [years] mortality.

“…But disparities exist. Even though the basic level has risen in the developing world, but the gap between very low human development and very high human development countries is very significant,” he said, mentioning primary education as an example.
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