Survey Finds Africa Still Facing Poverty, Food Insecurity Despite Gains; U.N. Calls For Increased Humanitarian Response

“Nearly one in five people in Africa live without frequent access to clean water, food and medical care, despite continued reports of economic growth throughout the continent, according to [a survey by] the Afrobarometer project, an independent research endeavor that measures the social, political and economic atmosphere in Africa,” Nature World News reports, noting, “The fifth edition of the Afrobarometer survey [.pdf], which is released every few years, was published Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa” (Foley, 10/1). “The survey results appear to contrast with the perception of ‘Africa rising,’ a continent casting off old stereotypes as growth rates touch double digits in some countries,” Agence France-Presse reports, adding, “Over half the respondents on the continent rated their country’s economy bad, while only a third thought the economy and their living conditions had improved in the past year” (10/1).

Speaking at a briefing at U.N. headquarters on the work of the African Regional Economic Communities on Tuesday, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson “stressed that the international community must address chronic humanitarian needs and crises in Africa if the continent is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) before their 2015 deadline,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the threat posed by climate change. Droughts, floods and unpredictable weather are displacing populations, devastating areas and generating competition for scarce resources that can even lead to conflict,” Eliasson said, the news service writes, adding, “Eliasson said he was particularly interested in boosting the setup of early warning and early response systems in regions, countries and communities, as they have an enormous potential to save lives” (10/1).

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