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Zimstats Survey: 63% of Zimbabweans are Poor

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2008 file photo, children and their parents pick corn kernels spilled on the roadside by trucks ferrying corn imported from South Africa, in Masvingo 239 kilometers (148.5 miles) south of Harare.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti today launched three poverty survey reports whose findings he says need to be addressed urgently if the country is to effectively deal with socio-economic problems and poverty.

Mr. Biti said the surveys show that 63 percent of Zimbabweans are poor with 16 percent living in extreme poverty.

The three reports - the Poverty Income and Consumption and Expenditure Survey, the Poverty Datum Line Analysis, and the Demographic and Health Survey - were produced by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.

Major findings of the poverty reports are that 70 percent of rural households are poor compared to 38 percent in urban areas.

The reports show that Matabeleland North has the highest percent of households in poverty at 81.7 percent.

Mr. Biti said these and other findings are depressing.

He said the reports dispel some statistics that unemployment in Zimbabwe stands at above 85 percent as they show that most Zimbabweans are economically active.

The minister said the reports show that government must come up with policies to counter the rapid growth of poverty in the country adding this must include equitable allocation of resources to every section of the society.

With poverty remaining predominantly a rural problem, Mr. Biti, said there is need for viable drought mitigation programs to alleviate poverty in rural areas.

The finance minister said the reports provide crucial data for evidence based policy formulation and decision making.