WHY THIS REGION
Trickle Up works in Africa because of a legacy of colonialism that has perpetuated inequality, and the prevalence of weak states that often face challenges delivering basic public services and setting economic policies that encourage growth. A large number of the world’s extreme poor are in rural Africa, where food, health, education, and economic opportunities are scarce. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the incidence of poverty is increasing faster than the population, and the pace of poverty reduction in most of Africa has slowed since the 1970s.¹
Poverty in Africa is predominantly rural and, many of these areas, is rooted in the colonial system. People depend on agriculture for food and for their livelihood, yet development assistance to agriculture is decreasing. Although economic policies and institutional structures have been modified to close the income gap, these changes have dismantled existing rural systems without always building new ones. This situation is marked by continuing stagnation, poor production, low incomes, and rising vulnerability. Lack of access to markets is a problem for many small-scale enterprises and the population is poorly organized and often isolated, beyond the reach of social safety nets and poverty programs. Increasingly, government policies and investments in poverty reduction tend to favor urban over rural areas.
Western and Middle Africa
Three fourths of people living in poverty in Western and Middle Africa — an estimated 90 million people — live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.² One in five lives in a country affected by warfare.³ In conflict-torn countries such as Angola, Burundi, Mozambique and Uganda, the capacity of rural people to make a livelihood has been dramatically curtailed by warfare, and per capita food production has plummeted. Land degradation, a consequence of extensive agriculture, deforestation, and overgrazing, has reached alarming levels and further threatens livelihoods. The poorest people live in isolated zones, deprived of the social safety nets and poverty reduction programs available in semi-urban and urban areas.
In Burkina Faso, two of every five people live in poverty.4 Women are disproportionately represented among the poor and are often excluded from full participation in the economy, particularly in rural areas. Women also lack a voice in their homes and communities. Discriminatory practices towards women in Burkinabe society remain high, despite government commitment and efforts to develop a policy and legal framework. In many situations, both the Family Code and the Penal Code are disregarded by society and authorities in favor of practices that discriminate against women, particularly in rural areas. Despite legislative initiatives, including the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), significant obstacles remain to ensure women’s access to justice, equality, and positions of political power.
Refugees in Africa
The escalating global refugee crisis is concentrated in Africa and the Middle East. Trickle Up works with refugees and host communities living in extreme poverty in Egypt, Zambia, and Burkina Faso. Many of these families are fleeing protracted situations where there is little hope of returning to their home countries in the near future. Refugees from Angola, DRC, and Rwanda have fled to Zambia. There is a rising population of displaced people from Syria, Iraq, and Sudan in Egypt. 98% of refugees in Burkina Faso are from Mali, where recent turmoil has displaced many families.5