America may not be in perfect shape, but when compared to the African state of poverty, the American poverty pales considerably. There are always others in the world who have greater needs than those in countries who have been blessed with running water, reliable food sources, and functioning hospitals.
– Zachary Wright, The Borgen Project
According to Zachary’s blog, there was a study done in 2010 that shows that America has 49.7 million people living in poverty (15% of the 325.7 million people), and Africa has 239 million people living in poverty (20% of the 1.216 billion people).
Another article on The Borgen Project website done by Jordanna Packtor shows that the numbers are far harsher in sub-Saharan Africa! 414 million of the 855 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa are living on $37.50 per month. That is 48.5%!!!
Here are 10 shocking facts about the abject poverty in Africa. My heart just breaks as I try to break this down and try to summarize in my own words below. I have to go slow. It’s a lot to fathom. Tears are starting to well up.
- 75 % of the poorest countries in the world are located in Africa, with a GDP per capita of as low as $656.
- A Gallup World study shows that the 10 countries with the highest proportion of residents living in extreme poverty were all in sub-Saharan Africa. Extreme poverty is defined as living on $1.25 or less a day. Those living on $1.25 a day accounted for 48.5% of the region. That’s 1/2 the people! Half of the people living there is 414 million people. 414 million people there are living on only $37.50 per month!!!! That’s 89 million more people than the total number of people who live in the US (325 million)!
- 1 in 3 people living in sub-Saharan Africa are “undernourished.” This is the highest percentage of any region in the world.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, 589 million people live without electricity. That means 80% of the population have to cook using wood, charcoal or dung.
- 738 million people in the world lack access to clean water. 37 % of them are living in sub-Saharan Africa. 500 million people are suffering from waterborne diseases there. The U.N. says that 50% of Africans have a water-related illness like cholera.
- Sub-Saharan Africa misses out on roughly $30 billion in productivity because of compromised water and sanitation problems. This is 5% of the region’s GDP. This exceeds the total amount of foreign aid sent to sub-Saharan Africa.
- Due to continuing violence, conflict and widespread human rights abuses, the UNHCR for Refugees reports that 18 million people are of concern to the agency, including stateless people and returnees.
- Fewer than 20% of African women have access to education. Uneducated African women are 2x as likely to contract AIDS and 50% less likely to immunize their children. Meanwhile, the children of African women with at least 5 years of schooling have a 40% higher chance of survival.
- Women in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 230x more likely to die during childbirth or pregnancy than women in North America. Approximately 1 in 16 women living in sub-Saharan African will die during childbirth or pregnancy; only 1 in 4,000 women in North America will.
- More than 1 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die every year from malaria. 90% of all malaria deaths are in Africa. 80% of these victims are African children. The U.N. calculates that a child in Africa dies from malaria every 30 seconds, or about 3,000 every day.
How many years I have gone on in ignorance of these facts. I am very guilty. I don’t have to live in denial about this anymore though. We have a Savior who forgives us and loves us. And He loves THEM. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
The Everett and Austin Project is all about going over to help relieve this abject poverty. Please donate as much as you can to our project so that we can go over and help sooner than later.