OpEd, Politics

Poverty, inequalities in South Sudan

By Akot Akot Kuot Majok

It’s not an individual intention to live in poverty, the reality is that substantial growth is needed if people in poor countries should have a chance to leave poverty behind. I believe that if we do not express very clearly that economic growth is needed, we are damaging the prospects of the poorest people in South Sudan. The poverty that is unacceptable should be very clear that the majority of people in South Sudan live in a poor economic burden (zero income) and that massive economic growth is needed to increase their incomes to a decent level.

When the average people’s income in a country is that low, then the only way the majority of people can possibly leave poverty behind is when that country’s economy grows so that average incomes increase. In a country like South Sudan, Economic growth is not enough to get people out of poverty. If the inequality of income increases, the poorest can be left behind. Fighting inequality matters too.

But to say that income growth only has an instrumental role is not to say that it is of little importance. A person’s income does not measure their well-being, it measures whether goods and services they value remain out of reach or not. Because many of these goods and services matter for their well-being, income matters too.

Any individual’s income depends on two factors, the average income in the country they live in and the position that particular person has in that country’s income distribution. Both aspects can change so that fewer people are poor Average income increases over time, which is called economic growth and inequality can decline so that the poorest people get closer to the average income in the country. It is important to consider by how much poverty can decline by either economic growth or lower inequality.

Lowering inequality is an important goal and it can help to reduce poverty, but it cannot be the only way in which we will fight poverty. Many poorer people rely on subsistence farming and do not have a monetary income. To take this into account and make a fair comparison of their living standards, adding the monetary value of their home production and their income/expenditures will be the best way to overcome the poverty among South Sudanese.

The Author is a Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Economics and Social Studies, Upper Nile University. He can be reached via Email:akuot.1989@gmail.com/+211912800314/+211986666476


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