5 December 2018

Malawi: Child Poverty in Malawi Still High, 60 Percent Deprived of Basic Needs - Report

Child poverty has reduced by 2.5 per cent but still remains the highest at 60.5 per cent according to an integrated household report which means children are more poor in Malawi than any other age group.

The 2018 report cites rising cost of living and early marriages as the main reason pushing child poverty in the country up.

Over-all, 52 per cent of Malawians are poor according to the report which contradicts government's assertion that the economy has drastically improved under the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) led government.

Then study was undertatken by National Statistical Office (NSO) in collabolation with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the Department of Econnmoic Planning and Development in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.

Accoridng to the findings, about 70 percent of children in rural areas are poor compared to 25 percent in urban areas.

"In rural areas, nearly 50 percent of children are both monetarily and multi-dimensionally poor compared to 13 percent in urban areas. Children in rural areas are three times more likely to be deprived in housing and four times more on information," reads the report in part.

Harry Mwamulimwa, director of Poverty Reduction and Social Social Services in the ministry of Gender and Social Services said government officials will read the report carefully in order to find solutions to the problems leading to the increasing poverty levels in the country.

Unicef officials said Malawi has potential to reduce poverty, saying there was need for converted efforts to deal with poverty which retards development.

During the launch of the report in Lilongwe on Monday, Unicef country representtauve Johannes Weding said: "It is not enough to simply disseminate study reports. There is need to start talking about the implications of the findings."

He added: " We can only move forward if we create time to reflect, re-energise ourselves and plan our next steps."

NSO commissioner for statistic Mercy Kanyuka, who presented the report, called for the inclusion of other aspects of poverty in measuring child poverty other than conceptualising poverty " as people living in low-income hoseholds, relative to an agreed poverty line."

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