structural poverty makes it hard to reduce income poverty and inequality
The state and labour market’s inability to exploit the youth dividend has resulted in political and economic instability with regional states responding through excessive force and repression.
This is according to Amnesty International Southern Africa regional office, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Senior Advisor, Thabileng Mothabi, who was addressing Members of Parliament in Gaborone last week.
He said the poverty and inequality, measured in the last ten years, have remained stubbornly high in sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically in the Southern Africa region.
“The situation further worsened by the state’s inability to invest in economic, social and cultural rights is constrained by its inability to close crucial tax leaks resulting in billions of revenue lost through illicit financial flows,” he said.
He further noted that labour markets are supply driven rather than demand driven and thus many people are losing jobs while labour markets are not absorbing many of them, including graduates, in search of jobs, hence high-income poverty. “Arguably, poverty and inequality in the region are structural and the structures of regional economies make it difficult to reduce income poverty and inequality.”
Mothabi also stated that challenges continue to persist to reduce income inequalities and gender inequality as women continue to be marginalized in all major economic sectors. He said even more worrying are the number of women who continue to suffer from poverty as a result of patriarchy.
The challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality, he said, continue to hamper progress in uplifting the majority of Southern African citizens out of poverty and closing the gap between the haves and have nots: “Current trajectory on inequality demonstrate the high levels of Gini-coefficient and income inequality remains a worrying indicator of lack of employment opportunities.”