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Inequality gap widens

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By Feston Malekezo:

Economist Ben Kalua has said Malawi is nowhere near attaining its dream of narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich.

Kulua, a Chancellor College-based economics professor, was reacting to a recent report by Oxfam which shows that inequality was spiralling out of control in the country.

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The Oxfam report, titled ‘A Dangerous Divide; The State of Inequality in Malawi’, estimates that, by 2020, 1.5 million more Malawians would be poorer.

The number is a rise from 8 million people recorded in 2015.

The report states that, unless Malawi acts to reduce cases of inequality, even rapid economic growth would fail to reduce poverty in the country.

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In an interview, Kalua blamed illiteracy and inconcestencies in policy formulation

Kalua said Malawi experienced fast economic growth just 15 years after independence and that inequality gap has been wide since 1970s.

“We are not anywhere near reducing the inequality gap. Most people remain uneducated and continue staying in rural areas to supply cheap labour in tobacco fields,” Kalua said.

He further said the skills gap was also still wide in the country.

Meanwhile, Oxfam has said limited access to education, lack of recognition of inequality as a challenge, inequities in access to quality health services and ineffective implementation of gender-sensitive economic policies lead to inequality in Malawi.

A 2019 African Economic Outlook Report commissioned by the African Development Bank painted a gloomy picture of Malawi’s poverty levels, showing that poverty remains widespread at 51.5 percent nationwide as at 2017, up from 50.4 percent in 2010.

The report states that poverty stands at 56.6 percent largely because of food insecurity

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