Namibia's poverty line decreases but wealth remains uneven: NSA

23 Dec 2016 09:10am
WINDHOEK, 23 DEC (NAMPA) – Poverty in Namibia has decreased over the past five years and the gap between the rich and the poor has reduced slightly, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).
In the draft Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES) 2015/16 released earlier this month, the NSA said less citizens now live below the lower bound poverty line.
“The overall poverty levels have reduced significantly with 10,7 per cent points from 28,7 to 18,0, while the inequality in income distribution remains high with a slight reduction of 2.5 per cent points from the previous survey of 2009/10 to the survey of 2015/16,” said Statistician-General, Alex Shimuafeni in the report.
In the 2015/16 financial year, 11,0 per cent of the population (about 250 879) live below the lower bound poverty line, compared to 15.3 per cent (about 578 591) in 2009/10.
Two poverty lines constructed from the survey: lower bound and upper bound were used as points of reference to classify people as severely poor or poor, respectively.
Severely poor is any person unable to spend N.dollars 389.30 per month on basic necessities such as housing and food. Poor classify persons who are unable to spend N.dollars 520.80 per month on basic needs.
The report is done every five years and works as an evaluation tool of Namibia’s National Development Plans (NDPs) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan launched in April 2016.
The NDP4 cycle ends in March 2017, while the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) still being developed.
Information from NHIES 2015/16 will be used to evaluate and assess both plans to so see if the government is achieving the intended objectives.
Shimuafeni said the distribution of wealth has improved as per a steady decline in the Gini index used to measure the gap between the rich and the poor. This measure takes two points: zero and one, where zero means total equality and one is total inequality.
Namibia’s Gini index stood at 59,7 per cent in 2009/10 and dropped 2,5 per cent points to 57,2 per cent in 2015/16.
The income of the average Namibian citizen has increased over the years from N.dollars 2 068 in 2003/04 to N.dollars 2 210 in 2009/10 and N.dollars 3 071 in 2015/16.
Shimuafeni said a detailed report titled ‘Namibia Household, Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES) 2015/2016 Basic Report’ which will include methodologies, poverty profiles and national and regional levels will be published in February 2017.