May 14th, 2013 11:38 AM UTC
By Ben Leo
This post was originally published on CNN World.
Global Public Square recently published a thoughtful piece on how global poverty rates are falling fast. It argued that one country in particular is almost solely responsible for this dramatic trend: China. Meanwhile, it said progress in the rest of the world “has been much, much slower – if there’s been progress at all.”
Here’s the problem. There are 62 other countries across the globe that are also slashing extreme poverty rates at a remarkable pace. And many of them are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. So, the more important question is – how do we accelerate the progress being made in places like Ethiopia and Uganda while simultaneously jumpstarting it in places that are lagging behind, like Nigeria and the Congo?
It’s true that China’s case is remarkable – both in terms of its sheer scale and speed. It has lifted 680 million people out of poverty in a single generation. That’s amazing. It’s every poverty fighter’s dream. But the global story isn’t just about China. It is also about countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, and Senegal that are also witnessing dramatic declines in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.
According to a forthcoming ONE Campaign report, 63 nations are on track to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 (compared to 1990 levels) – including 16 in Sub-Saharan Africa. And their progress has further sped up over the last decade – particularly as African countries have turned the corner on HIV/AIDS, cleared unsustainable debt loads and made strategic investments in their social and physical infrastructure. The difficult and traumatic decade of the 1990s is receding in the rear-view mirror.
Bono mentioned 10 of these African trailblazers during his recent TED talk. Let’s look at two of them:
– In absolute terms, Ethiopia lifted an estimated 10 million people out of extreme poverty in just over a decade (from 2000 to 2011). During that time, the Ethiopian government focused nearly half of its total budget on poverty fighting sectors like health, agriculture, and education. And donors like the U.S. and Europe provided significant support alongside it. If the current trend holds, extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030.
– Uganda lifted nearly 3 million people out of poverty in four short years (between 2006 and 2009). Overall, the percentage of Ugandans living on less than $1.25 a day has fallen by nearly half since the early 1990s. It, too, could virtually eliminate it by 2030.
These dramatic results have inspired many world leaders – like President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Malawian President Joyce Banda – to declare that the world can virtually eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. Not to mention the World Bank president and a certain Irish rock star to boot.
To get there, several things will have to happen. There is risk in this story, just as there is promise. First, developing economies will not only need to keep growing at a healthy clip, but that growth will need to reach and benefit their poorest citizens. On that, I couldn’t agree more with the Global Public Square article. Conversely, a global growth shock that deals a direct blow to poor nations would be catastrophic in the fight against extreme poverty. Second, governments need to implement targeted policies that address growing rates of inequality. Fortunately, countries like Brazil have shown that this is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Third, and perhaps most challenging, is the tough nut of states that have been governed poorly must be cracked. In Africa, this means places like Nigeria, Sudan, and the Congo. These are the populous nations that are holding down regional progress. They largely explain why Africa’s overall growth rates aren’t even more compelling than they are. One country like Nigeria can overshadow five like Uganda or two like Ethiopia simply because of its size.
Truth be told, nobody has a magic elixir that will transform these places into the next China or Ethiopia. Long running domestic instability, or even conflict, takes time to address. Then again, people said the same thing about China in the 1970s and Ethiopia in the 1980s. Or even Uganda in the 1990s. They were hopeless cases then. But look at them today.
So, going forward, let’s expand the global poverty discussion beyond a singular focus on China. While this tendency may be natural given China’s absolute numbers, it does an injustice to smaller nations that are surging alongside it. These success stories demonstrate that the elimination of extreme poverty is possible well within our lifetime, perhaps only a decade and a half away.
Look out for our 2013 DATA Report, released on 29 May, which looks at how donor and African government spending is linked to progress.
May 10th, 2013 11:24 AM UTC
By Dr Sipho Moyo
In a few weeks, the UK government will host a major international event in London called Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science. Happening just days before the 2013 G8 Summit in Lough Erne, it will bring together governments, businesses, scientists and civil society to examine strategies that could improve the quality and quantity of food available to the world’s poorest people.
Back in March I attended a highly energised meeting of African civil society organisations in Ethiopia, who had gathered for Africa’s biggest annual forum on agriculture and where we launched our report A Growing Opportunity. We all agreed an urgent message needed to be sent to the international community before the June summit in the UK.
As a result, ONE together with 36 other African organisations have written to UK Prime Minister Cameron asking his government to ensure that African-led agriculture is at the heart of the Nutrition for Growth event, and specifically the existing CAADP plans.
CAADP stands for the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program. It has already created momentum to reform agriculture in 40 out of 53 African countries and many more are joining. This makes it the single best existing framework that would support the G8 to deliver excellent results from their food security and nutrition investments on the continent.
CAADP will also become the central organising vehicle for the African Union year of Agriculture in 2014. African states have committed themselves become more accountable to their people on accelerated progress in fighting hunger and helping small-holder farmers access better investment, technology and markets to sell their produce.
African leadership, political will and investment is critical to realising the poverty reducing potential of African agriculture. The private sector and international community also has a very important supporting role to play in investing in African-led agriculture.
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, has said, “Africa has potential, but it cannot eat potential. More coordinated action is needed”.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, the G8 must build on the momentum growing across Africa and fund the agriculture plans already in place.
May 9th, 2013 4:32 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
ONE US Policy Manager David Hong and ONE Africa Deputy Director Nachilala Nkombo look at the progress made by Grow Africa in the last year.
Today, five African heads of state, four G8 development ministers, and over 100 private sector companies will meet in Cape Town, South Africa at the World Economic Forum on Africa to assess Grow Africa’s work in 2012, the partnership’s first full year in business.
First, here’s a little background. Two years ago, the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency, and the World Economic Forum combined forces to create a new partnership, Grow Africa, which aims to reduce poverty by accelerating private sector investment in African agriculture.
The partnership is led by the organisations above, and includes eight member countries and various stakeholders such as host governments, companies involved in investment, civil society, research institutions, and farmer organisations.
Here at ONE, we’re taking this opportunity to weigh in on Grow Africa’s first annual report. Overall, the initiative made significant progress last year, especially given the small size of its team. ONE hopes for further and more robust reporting in the coming years so the partnership can demonstrate its value and defend its model. Annual reporting gives Grow Africa an opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned over the past year and what challenges lay ahead.
Here are the headlines:
Obviously, there is a lot to commend here. Thousands of smallholders are being incorporated into commercial food supply chains where they’re growing more food and generating more income for their families. If Grow Africa adds further measures to increase transparency and expand reporting of poverty reduction indicators, the partnership could change the game for farmers and businesses.
For more information on Grow Africa’s report and ONE’s analysis, check out this policy brief.
May 9th, 2013 11:58 AM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
This morning we delivered over 135,000 petition signatures for our Open for Development campaign to 10 Downing Street, home of the UK Prime Minister.
Thousands of ONE members are calling for the next set of poverty-busting goals to reflect the views and priorities of people living in poverty, and to be specific, measurable and accountable.
A High Level Panel, co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron are in charge of coming up with the new Millennium Development Goals, and we’ve been tracking them down around the world to get our campaign delivered.
Here is the message we delivered today:
As you work with the other High Level Panel Co‑chairs and Panelists to finalise your report and recommendations, and before you travel to New York next week for your final Panel meeting, I am writing on behalf of the 135,000 ONE members who have signed the enclosed ‘Open for Development’ petition. The petition calls on you, President Johnson-Sirleaf and President Yudhoyono to ensure that your recommendations reflect the views of the world’s most vulnerable people in the post-2015 framework, and to ensure that any new goals are specific, measurable and accountable.
Echoing your own development priorities for the UK’s G8 Presidency this year, transparency and accountability must be put at the heart of the post‑2015 framework. As well as robust citizen consultations in the design of the framework, we are calling for:
- transparency and accountability in monitoring investments and outcomes;
- improved statistical systems that are open and user-friendly (ie open data); and
- increased financing through both domestic and international resource mobilisation.
At the Monrovia meeting in January, ONE and Save the Children co-hosted an exhibition and panel discussion on transparency, accountability and the post-2015 agenda. The event was attended by members of the Panel, including President Johnson-Sirleaf, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gunilla Carlsson, Betty Maina and John Podesta, along with Amina Mohammed, members of the Secretariat, and almost 200 Liberians. In the interactive breakout sessions, they drew up a series of recommendations for the Panel to consider, including a more inclusive consultation process and the collection of better data.
At the Bali meeting, we delivered our petition to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. At that stage, there were 120,000 signatories. In addition, we also presented our preliminary findings from our ‘You Choose’ survey, which asked Malawians, South Africans and Zambians what they wanted from the new framework. The ‘You Choose’ initiative fed into the UN’s ‘My World’ programme which is collating survey results from around the world. More than 140,000 people have taken part in ‘You Choose’: among the top concerns of respondents were “an honest and responsive government” and “better job opportunities”.
As you work to finalise the Panel’s conclusions, please consider the views of our members and the millions of people living in extreme poverty. Setting goals that are specific, measurable and accountable will help to define a path to end extreme poverty by 2030.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign. We’ll keep you updated on the progress as we keep pushing hard to make sure the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people are heard.
May 8th, 2013 1:25 PM UTC
By Jamie Drummond
Erik Charas is a campaigning journalist in Mozambique. He was recently arrested by local officials for asking government leaders difficult questions about shady deals done in Mozambique’s natural resources extraction sector.
Whether “Africa keeps its promise” to its people, the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum in Cape Town, depends in large part on how Mozambican and other African leaders respond to the probing questions asked by people like Erik.
The stakes could not be higher. Mozambique, like many other African nations across the continent, is discovering and developing vast natural resource reserves and untapping enormous amounts of resource wealth. Resource development offers a golden key to a much desired and heralded “economic transformation”. But the turning of this key depends on ensuring efficient and transparent management of resource revenues and the investment of these revenues into the continent’s physical and human infrastructure.
If Mozambique – like Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and others – gets this right, it could develop more rapidly and, above all, more inclusively, securing a prosperous future for all its citizens. These choices must be made now.
That is why ONE, along with its partners in the Publish What You Pay coalition, have been campaigning hard for transparency in the extractives sector in Europe and North America. We recently celebrated serious progress in this campaign as Europe agreed to mandatory reporting of payments by companies to governments in the extractives sector. It would be wonderful if African leaders now took this further and implemented legislation covering Johannesburg, Nairobi, Accra and other stock exchanges.
We are also supporting our partners in pushing for disclosure of “beneficial ownership” of dodgy shell companies – as lack of clarity around ownership facilitates hiding stolen assets and tax evasion – as well as technical assistance for African revenue authorities, and exchange of tax information conventions.
All these efforts can help authorities and citizens follow the money, and ensure funds hidden from revenue authorities in the murkier parts of the offshore system can be exposed, relocated and taxed accordingly. But it would be nonsense stopping at transparency only offshore.
Transparency of government budgets is equally important, from national to local level, so citizens can track resources and follow the money all the way to results where people live – kids immunised, educated, nourished, wells dug and working, electricity accessed even in remote rural areas, and small farmers properly supported and connected through farm-to-market roads.
With partners we are campaigning across these fronts so that African nations will have more domestic resources at their disposal, through increased revenue collection and economic growth, to invest in the continent’s infrastructure and meet all the promises African leaders have made to their citizens to end hunger, malnutrition, disease and extreme poverty, and to instead spread prosperity.
A new report from Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel on African natural resource governance, being launched this week at the World Economic Forum, lays out much of what must be done to help secure the revenues needed for development on the continent.
Its policy recommendations make clear that African nations should be legislating for transparency in the natural resources sector, and how governments can make better use of those revenues – by channelling them into infrastructure, job creation, health, nutrition and education. If this happens, then the 2 billion African citizens of 2050, and all global citizens around the world, who will by then be relying on Africa for economic and political dynamism and leadership, will look back upon this time – the 50th anniversary of the African Union, and maybe even this very 2013 meeting in Cape Town – as pivotal turning points in the continent’s history.
This way lies the future that leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu envisioned – that the twenty first century will be “the African century”. This way lies the realisation of the African Union’s own charter; of a resilient, vibrant Africa driven and determined by its own citizens.
This way also lies the realisation of Nelson Mandela’s dream – that this could be the generation to end extreme poverty and hunger. But the path towards such visionary progress wont be lit up if the Erik Charas’ of Africa are silenced and intimidated into not asking those probing, revealing, enlightening, questions.
Get the latest news and views from ONE at the World Economic Forum from tomorrow by following @ONECampaign on Twitter.
May 3rd, 2013 10:45 AM UTC
By Erin Finucane
For the launch of our global nutrition campaign in Brussels, a team of volunteers and ONE staff took the food fight to the streets. Having slaved over hot stoves the evening before, we hit the pavement with the best weapon a poverty-fighting foodie could ask for: vegetarian chilli.
We set our eyes on Place du Luxembourg, directly across from the European Parliament.
Armed with 100 hot cups of chilli at lunchtime, we went in search of hungry people. The masses welcomed us with open arms and eagerly took action by signing our petition.
This year alone over 2 million people will die as a result of being obese and over 2 million children will die from undernutrition.
Regardless of where in the world we live, nutrition should always be at the top of the agenda.
It’s time to save millions of lives.
Apr 30th, 2013 1:59 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Today our guest blogger is ONE member Adrian Luckie, who along with Neil Adams, founded Munch Street Food. They are supporting our Global Good Revolution campaign by inviting us along to their exciting UK events to help spread the word.
I am passionate about street food and feel that by working with an organisation like ONE, Munch Street Food can create street food events that help convey the important messages regarding food waste and world hunger and raise more interest for these worthy causes.
As a trader who is part of the new street food revolution I feel it’s important to always encourage healthy eating and, most importantly not to waste food, which has such a devastating impact in the world.
Last week we organised a street food festival at the London Marathon, alongside ONE and Small Green Shoots. We wanted to create an environment where people could immerse themselves in a cultural experience based around diverse levels of cultural cuisine, highlighting food waste and food poverty and celebrate a platform for new talent sourced from inner city communities.
I am delighted that Munch Street Food and ONE have started to collaborate spreading the Actions Speak Louder message through our street food events. We will be asking some of the traders at our events to take part in the campaigns by adapting their menus to introducing sweet potato dishes, salads and healthier options.
Munch Street Food also works with organisations like Small Green Shoots educating the younger generation about these issues and offering them the platform to further develop their talents.
Our next free event is at the iconic More London Scoop on Saturday 25 May. We’ll have fantastic street food, great music entertainment and another opportunity to raise awareness of ONE’s campaigns. Come along if you are in the London area!
Have you joined our Global Food Revolution campaign yet? No? Get involved!
Apr 29th, 2013 12:02 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
In partnership with One Acre Fund, we are following Anne, a smallholder farmer from Kenya, for a whole growing season. From planting to harvest, we will check in every month to see what life is really like for a farmer in rural Kenya. Catch up with Part 1. Written by Hailey Tucker.
In Western Kenya, successful planting for the year is typically seen as a matter of materials, skill and knowledge. However, most farmers acknowledge that ultimately—regardless of expertise—plant germination can be won or lost by the rains.
For farmers who plant too early, there will not be enough consistent rain to help their crops grow. For farmers who wait long enough but get unlucky, their newly sown seeds will be washed away by heavy rains before the seedlings have a chance to take root.
Trying to pinpoint the prefect timing makes planting one of the most risk-laden choices a farmer can make.
It had been a few nights in a row when Anne had been too hot to sleep and too hot to even cover herself with any sort of blanket, when she knew it was time. Anne would lay awake on a sweat-moistened mattress and hear a strong wind rustling the trees outside.
“When the temperature stays high at night and the winds are blowing hard from West to East, I believe the rains are very near,” Anne says. “Then in the day, I observe the clouds. If there are dark clouds and they hang closer to the earth than the white clouds, then I know the rains are coming.”
After seeing the signs Anne has come to associate with pending rain, she decided to plant part of her millet for the season on March 22, and then finished the rest of the plot on March 25 after taking a few days off for her mother-in-law’s funeral.
The morning of planting, Anne and her husband Isaac gathered with their relatives to pray over their seeds and fertiliser. “I am a believer,” Anne says. “I am spiritual so before planting my family will pray.” Isaac, who is a pastor at the local church, leads the prayer.
After planting, Anne commented, “Preparing the finger millet land required a lot of commitment and labour because we had to break down the soil very fine and remove all the debris. All of the preparation was worthwhile though because then the planting became easy—even easier than maize.”
On March 23, the rains were heavy and with Anne’s field being situated on a slight slope, her first round of seeds took more water than was ideal. Looking at the field two weeks later, the furrows that once divided her lines of seed are barely visible, but patches of millet are still beginning to appear.
“The rains are a little different this year because they usually come in April,” Anne says. “They came in March this year instead and are also much heavier.”
The second half of her field received light rain most of the days immediately following planting, which is the best Anne could have asked for.
“I believe that these are good,” Anne says pointing to the second set of seedlings. “They are much better, I think they will germinate well.”
Have you got a question or message for Anne? Leave a comment and we’ll get them directly to her in Kenya, and try and answer them in the next instalment.
One Acre Fund serves 125,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, helping them to increase their harvests and incomes. It provides farmers with a service bundle that includes seed and fertiliser, credit, training, and market facilitation, and enables farmers to double their income per planted acre. To learn more about their work, you can read Roger Thurow’s The Last Hunger Season.
Apr 25th, 2013 9:55 AM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Today is World Malaria Day and we’re asking ONE members to join the global movement to eradicate it. This deadly but preventable disease, spread by mosquitoes, causes 660,000 deaths a year – 90% of them in Africa.
Thanks to political will and sustained investment, together the world has saved 1 million lives in just a decade. And 50 countries are on track to reduce malaria by 75% by 2015.
So how can you get involved? We’ve made it easy for you. Here’s some of our favorite World Malaria Day actions from our friends and partners. And you can do them all online!
1. Join our World Malaria Day Google+ Hangout
Join ONE and our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Malaria No More UK for a Google+ Hangout to hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world. We promise there will be no jargon, no complicated science—just the truth about this incredible battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
2. Protect The Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria works really hard to save lives around the world. But they need continued funding from world leaders to keep driving down these diseases. Take our one minute action and tell leaders to scale up their commitments.
3. Download South African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s new track
Recorded in support of United Against Malaria and The Princess of Africa Foundation, her performance of Hearts on Fire closed the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament earlier this year in Johannesburg. Warning – it’s catchy.
4. Fight back with facts
Impress your friends and family with facts about malaria. Did you know that 3.3 billion people – half the world’s population – is at risk of malaria? We like the facts on Roll Back Malaria’s website.
5. Buy a United Against Malaria beaded bracelet
They look amazing, AND you’ll be helping the campaign to eradicate malaria. The sales of these bracelets benefit the South African beaders who make them too.
Malaria is an important issue for us here at ONE, and World Malaria Day is a great opportunity to share the work our partners are doing.
Help us to remind the world that malaria is preventable, treatable and although we’ve made real progress, there is still a long way to go.
No parent should lose their child to malaria – keep acting and keep sharing to keep the fight alive.
Apr 25th, 2013 9:16 AM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
I can honestly say I have never been awake for the London Marathon. I like sleeping, and always felt it was a lovely event for two sorts of people that I am not – runners and morning people.
So when my alarm went off at 6am (again ONE! Why are you always making me get up so early?!) to head to Potters Field Park and set up our stall at the Munch Street Food Festival I did not know what to expect.
Here’s what I learnt:
1. The London Marathon is an amazing event and the people who go along and cheer the runners are fantastic – as are the runners themselves.
2. Munch Street Food, who invited us to join their event and a whole series of events, are wonderful.
3. It is absolutely possible to have fun, eat amazing food, enjoy the sunshine AND take action to ensure that nutrition gets on the agenda of world leaders.
Thanks to our terrific volunteers, over 150 new members took action in support of the campaign.
I’ve been banging on about sweet potatoes since World Food Day last year because they, along with other investments, could help save the lives of 300 children every single day.
That’s a message we need to keep shouting about and sharing. Over 160,000 people have so far called on world leaders to help 25 million children reach their full potential by making measurable commitments to reduce chronic malnutrition by 2016.
Let’s keep banging on about it till they do.
I love sweet potatoes so much that next time I will be dressed as one. If that doesn’t entice you I don’t know what will.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.