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Poverty among Sudanese Communities along the Eastern Borders: a case study from Kassala and Gedarif states

Dr. Faiez Ahmed Hamed ElNeel;Dr. Hassan Ahmed Abdel Ati;Dr. Eltayeb Mohamedain Abdalla

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Abstract

This paper attempts to assess poverty situation among Sudanese communities living along the eastern borders in Kassala and Gedarif states. Several methodological approaches were employed, combining quantitative and qualitative methods (descriptive, analytical and econometric techniques). Data used relies heavily on the results of a sample survey of 146 households in 16 border villages collected during 2014.  The results showed that poverty rates are very high among border communities (60.9% in Gedarif and 64.9% in Kassala) and that is very much linked to the deterioration of the agricultural rain-fed sector during the last two decades. The situation was aggravated by insecurity and the armed conflict which continued for over a decade, the limited opportunities outside the agricultural sector and the traditional production methods and techniques used in agriculture. Other than their income poverty, most of the border population lacks access to water, electricity, education and health services. The statistical results also revealed that poverty inequality is lower in border areas compared to state and national levels, indicating that in the border areas poverty are less sensitive to increases in income inequality, but an increase in per capita consumption expenditure is more likely to reduce incidence, depth and severity of poverty. That can be attributed to the fact that most of households surveyed have limited access to land or are landless and those who own land have limited access to credit and/or technology. The paper concludes that, with the abundance of productive lands, especially in Gedarif state, the high poverty levels may support the suggestion that the users and economic beneficiaries of the border area (traders or mechanized scheme owners) are outsiders and not indigenous or settlers of the border area. And that poverty reduction policy would be more effective to enhance growth if it aimed at raising per capita consumption expenditure and/or household’s income. A clear pro-poor growth policy that targets broadening the productive capacities of the economy and creating employment opportunities is expected to reduce poverty, enhance stability and minimize the likelihood of conflicts in the area.


 

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