Sunday, March 6, 2011


Fresh doubts have been cast on the Swaziland Government’s claim to be tackling poverty in the kingdom.

It had claimed a ‘modest but still significant’ success in bringing down the numbers of people in abject poverty by 37,500 over 10 years.

But, the IRIN news agency reports, the real reason for the fall might be the high death rate among the poor.

‘The numbers don't add up. The birth rate has remained high throughout the decade compared to economic growth,’ an actuary at an insurance brokerage in the Swazi capital, Mbabane, told IRIN.

‘We seem to be short about a quarter million people,’ said Alicia Simelane, a social welfare worker in Manzini, who has been following population trends since the 1990s.

‘I wish we could say that 6 percent less of the population is no longer poor because they've managed to improve their lives economically, but sadly it is because we have a third fewer people than we were projected to have at this time, and it is because of AIDS and the inability of the poor to access health care to prevent infant deaths,’ Simelane said.

To read the full report from IRIN, click here.

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