Tag Archive for poverty

Hunger in Oil-Rich Angola — now with better railway — Yet the World’s Worst Child Death Rate

Saluting Children, Nigeria. Jim Blaze photo

From Bloomberg, May 5, 2015

Every so often, investigative news reporters reawaken my senses as to if our technical efforts to help improve rail transport really matter.

This is because the report shows that about 30 percent of children in Angola are stunted because of malnutrition, according to a 2007 government survey.

This while oil and improved rail projects are positively increasing parts of the national economy, but not eliminating either poverty or hunger. You would think that it would improve both conditions. But not so.

It is hard to try and help such nation’s on their rail prospects in the face of the surrounding poverty and malnourished children we see while on assignments. Personally, I find it harder as time passes to get back on a plane to go and work amidst such physical conditions. It tears at your soul. You feel helpless.

To read the entire Bloomberg article, go to http://bloom.bg/1FObM6I

Critical Excerpts:

“Counting the number of children who don’t live to see their fifth birthday is a broad indicator of social and economic development, according to UNICEF.” In Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest economy, Porsche dealerships and Armani shops cater to members of the elite under the political leaders… — after 35 years, two-thirds of the nation’s people live in slums or impoverished rural settlements, often without running water and electricity reports Bloomberg.

Data shows that Sub-Saharan Africa hosts all 12 countries where more than 10 percent of children die before their fifth birthday, according to UNICEF. Sierra Leone is second, followed by Chad, Somalia and Central African Republic. Nigeria, which has the region’s largest economy and population with about 170 million people, is ninth.

I have gone there four times on rail improvement projects.

Among the riches we selectively saw …sadness…. …and an unanswered question as to “why.”

Angola is by far the richest country among African countries with the highest child mortality, with gross national income per capita of $5,170 in 2013 (World Bank). Nigeria, which pumped 2.1 million barrels of oil a day in March compared with Angola’s 1.84 million, earned $2,710 per person two years ago.

From time to time I wonder… … What happen to the young children that ten years ago chased our Nigerian inspection train?