Kenya is projected to “make a leap forward” in its efforts to end extreme poverty in the next decade.
A global data enterprise suggested in a post published last week by a US think tank that the share of abjectly poor Kenyans will drop from nearly 21 percent to 4.3 percent in 2030.
If current trends continue, says the Vienna-based World Data Lab, Kenya will eradicate extreme poverty by 2032 — two years later than the United Nations' deadline for achieving its top sustainable development goal.
World Data Lab's statistics for Kenya differ from those by the World Bank, which pegs the country's 2016 poverty rate at a higher level.
Because of the difference, the World Data Lab “piloted the creation of an additional sub-national poverty model specifically just for Kenya,” notes Kristofer Hamel, one of the authors of the study posted by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
“We stand by our data,” Mr Hamel wrote in an email response to questions posed by the Nation. For its Kenya findings, World Data Lab “makes some refinements that we believe to be more methodologically sound and reflective of the likely situation in 2016,” he added.
A few sub-Saharan countries have made faster progress than Kenya in improving living standards for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius and Seychelles have already reduced their respective rates of extreme poverty to less than three percent.
Mauritania and Gambia will join that group by 2030, according to World Data Lab projections.
Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, however, will remain the world's poorest region.
And it is expected to account for a larger share of the global poor in 2030 than is currently the case.
More than 70 percent of the world's poorest people live south of the Sahara today, with that share projected to rise to 87 percent a decade from now.
Poverty is expected to remain persistently widespread in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, World Data Lab forecasts.
Over half the DRC's roughly 100 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030.
Rapid population growth will increase the number of extremely poor Nigerians by 20 million in the next decade, despite a small projected decrease in the poverty rate for the country's anticipated 2030 population of 263 million.
Overall, however, economic growth will outpace sub-Saharan Africa's population explosion in the coming years, World Data Lab predicts.