Saturday, September 23, 2023

Statistician General troubled by scarcity of poverty data

Statistics Botswana (SB) Statistician General, Dr. Burton Mguni has joined a growing chorus of voices against poverty data deprivation and says a revolution in the collection of poverty statistics is necessary.

Speaking at the official side event on the margins of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which launched the 2023 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, he said the society’s poor, who frequently lack political representation, will remain obscure unless objective surveys reveal where they are and how they are faring. “Many of Africa’s own progress, as has been said earlier, might be invisible simply because of lack of updated data,” he said. He expressed dissatisfaction that when countries embarked on the SDG journey, they promised a data revolution, but this has not materialised.

Another official who have voiced dissatisfaction over the lack of data on poverty is Mo Ibrahim. Among other things, the Statistician General also said Botswana is developing an official multidimensional poverty index (MPI) to supplement its monetary poverty measure.

“Botswana is one of the many countries that are designing an official multidimensional poverty index to complement our monetary poverty measure,” he said. The Statistician General said the MPI which will be reported as SDG indicator 1.2.2 will be “updated often to inform policies like budgeting aimed at accelerating cost effective reduction of non-monetary poverty.”

This year’s report titled Global Multidimensional Poverty Index: Unstacking global poverty: Data for high-impact action notes that most poor people live in countries that have shifted to middle-income status. “Some 65.3 percent of poor people (730 million) live in middle-income countries, where the incidence of poverty ranges from 0.1 percent in Serbia (in 2019) to 66.8 percent in Benin (in 2017/2018) at the na­tional level and from 0.0 percent in Jwaneng, Bot­swana (in 2015/2016), to 89.5 percent in Alibori, Benin (in 2017/2018) at the subnational level,” states the report.

Dr. Burton Mguni also said with only seven years to go before 2030 — the endpoint of the sustainable development goals, after which they’ll be re-evaluated and updated — “MPI is a natural tool of the second half of SDGs because it shows how deprivations are interlinked in poor people’s lives so we can take care of those things and unstack or dismantle the deprivations that create poverty.”

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is a crucial worldwide tool for measuring severe multidimensional poverty in more than 100 developing nations. It evaluates poverty in a number of facets of people’s daily life, including housing, health, education, and access to necessities. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly launched the MPI in 2010, which offers a thorough analysis of poverty that goes beyond financial indicators.


Read this week's paper