Despite continued reports of economic growth in Africa, much of the continent remains wracked by poverty, with roughly one in five citizens saying they frequently lack food, clean water and medical care, according to the largest survey of African citizens.
This suggests the growth is not trickling down to the poorest citizens or that actual growth rates are inflated, said Carolyn Logan, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University and deputy director of the survey, called the Afrobarometer.
"The survey results show there is a disconnect between reported growth and the persistence - in both frequency and severity - of poverty among ordinary citizens," Logan said. "It's evident that African governments need to focus as much attention on poverty reduction efforts as they are on growing their economies."
The fifth round of the Afrobarometer, which comes out every several years, was released today in Johannesburg. Thirty-four countries were surveyed - up from 20 countries during the last round of surveys in 2008-9 - making it the most comprehensive look at life in Africa since the Afrobarometer was started in 1999.
The release of today's findings on poverty and economic conditions is the first of seven release events in African cities up through Dec. 12. Future topics include democracy, corruption and Internet usage.