Friday, 16 July 2010

India, Africa and employment

An interesting report by the Oxford poverty and human development inactive was recently released that found that there were ‘more poor’ in India than Africa. This doesn’t surprise me as much as it seems to have others, while India has made improvements it has never rated highly on the UN’s Human Development Index, India ranked 134th out of 182 countries in 2009.

What occurs to me, is the similarities between the areas of high poverty in India and Africa. Outside of the urban poor, the areas with high levels of poverty are predominantly regions with large deposits of natural resources and areas of with high levels of agricultural fertility, that still operate some form of feudal system.

The reasons for poverty are the same the world over and many of the solutions can be applied globally. Investing in agriculture will allow farmers to move away from subsistence to commercial viability. Resource companies are not ‘good’ job creators, so they must be pushed to downstream and help create the support industries that will provide employment in resource rich regions.

Poverty will only be tackled successfully where government works in partnership with the private sector. Government must provide a regulatory and tax environment that stimulates economic activity. While the private sector must take advantage of this and provide employment along the length of the value chain.

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