By: Cathy Maulidi
A recently released report has shown that the current economic crisis could take more than a decade to reverse if countries in the SADC region proceed on the dangerous austerity path they have taken.
The report done by Oxfam, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Development Finance International (DFI) has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened poverty levels and inequalities in the Southern Africa thereby erasing hopes of countries meeting their national development plan targets to reduce poverty by 2030.
According to the report, there is also hope that countries can reverse the impact of the economic crisis in just three years, if good policies to support citizens are put in place.
However, the report has found that, countries in SADC have responded with belt-tightening measures that are likely to do more harm to people than good.
Further the report notes that, while the majority of SADC citizens have suffered from the pandemic, this is not the case with region’s wealthiest people as six wealthiest people, four in South Africa, one in Zimbabwe and Tanzania saw their wealth expanding from $18.1 Billion to $27.7 Billion representing a 42% increase during the two years of the pandemic.
“This increase is more than enough to fund a full COVID Vaccination Program (Plus a booster for everyone in SADC.”
“This wealth concertation by a small group of people has left a majority struggling to meet their most basic needs, such as quality education, healthcare and decent jobs.” says the report.
Furthermore, the report shows that the fifteen SADC member states lost about $80bn in 2020 due to lower-than-expected growth. which is equivalent to around $220 for every SADC citizen.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Dailes Judge, Programme Director for Oxfam in Southern Africa said the findings are shocking, but they confirm the reality of many countries in the natural resources-rich but