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Kavango region poorest in Namibia

Sylvester Mbangu, Chief: National Development Advice, Macroeconomic Planning Department.

According the National planning Commission (NPC), the largely rural and northern regions of Kavango, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Kunene and Ohangwena remain the poorest in the country with more than one third of the population in these regions being poor. This is according to the recently completed Namibia Poverty Mapping report.

Of the estimated 568 418 poor people in Namibia, 21% are found in the Kavango region, while Ohangwena and Oshikoto account for 15% and 14% of the poor, respectively. Subsistence farming employs 58.3% in Kavango and 53.3% and 44.3% in Ohangwena and Oshikoto respectively.
The report states that the poverty rate in Namibia declined by 11% over 2001 to 2011 period with national incidence of poverty declining from 37.9% to 26.9% over the same period. “The Kavango region, with the highest poverty headcount of 53.2% has 64% of its population materially deprived while 50% are employment deprived. The Ohangwena region which reduced poverty by about 28% points over the 2001 to 2011 period, reduced material deprivation by 32% and living deprivation by only 3% over the last decade,” said Sylvester Mbangu, Chief: National Development Advice, Macroeconomic Planning Department. Over the past five years, the Namibian economy registered an average growth rate of 4.3%. However, with an unemployment rate of 29.6%, poverty at 26.9%, and HIV prevalence of 16.9%, a large portion of the Namibian population remains vulnerable. The NPC reported that Epupa is the poorest constituency in the Kunene region, while Kapako in the Kavango region, the fourth poorest constituency is rated the most deprived constituency. In terms of absolute numbers, the Kahenge constituency in the Kavango region has the largest share of the poor, with more than 18 000 of its population being poor compared to Windhoek East where the number of poor people is estimated to be less than 25%.
“In about one third of the constituencies, more than one third of the population is poor. While poverty declined in a number of those constituencies with high levels of poverty, in about 37% of these constituencies, either there was no significant decline or the poverty headcount increased over the decade 2001 to 2011,” further stated Mbangu.
The report also states that in the 20 most education deprived constituencies, more than 78% of the population is deprived in the education domain. Epupa is the poorest constituency in Namibia, the most deprived materially and educationally, and the seventh most deprived in terms of the living environment. The decline in the poverty headcount rate was not limited to Omusati Region, as nearly all the regions registered decline with Ohangwena, Kunene, Oshikoto and Omaheke registering the greatest declines. Ohangwena, which was the poorest region in 2001, recorded a remarkable reduction in the poverty headcount rate of 28% during the period 2001 to 2011.

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