World Bank Urges On Pro-Poor Growth

The government must invest a lot more in areas that touch the biggest number of the poor, the World Bank has said.

This, the World Bank argues, would ensure that more people benefited from the growth the country experienced. In a video conference with journalists across Africa, Francisco Ferreira, the bank’s chief economist for Africa, said growth in much of Africa, including Uganda, was more in numbers than in the lives of ordinary people.

“Abstract growth is [a] concern here at the World Bank,” said Ferreira. “Growth is not taking place necessarily where the poor are working,” he added.

Uganda’s economic growth has averaged six per cent annually for the past decade. Although the percentage of those in poverty has reduced over time – at 24 per cent today – the absolute number of the poor has increased. Government says this is due to the population increase.

Rachael Sebudde, an economist at the bank’s Uganda office, said the growth in terms of the well-being of Ugandans was much slower and left a lot to be desired. Ferreira urged Uganda to invest in better health care, quality education, and agriculture.

While Uganda is growing, the equally widening gap between the rich and the poor remains a big challenge. The bank recommended measures for the redistribution of wealth, such as cash transfers to the poor, as happened in South Africa, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

Uganda, just like other resource-rich African countries, will experience high growth once its oil starts flowing, according to some industry players. It is expected that investments from cash proceeds from the oil industry could touch the lives of many poor people.

If the poor road in the rural area is improved, and it takes the poor less time to reach the market, that’s their share of growth, Ferreira said. The World Bank also released the Africa Pulse report 2014, which showed that sub-Saharan Africa growth would rise to 5.2 per cent this year, compared to last year’s 4.7 per cent.

Source : The Observer

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