As China and India boast drastically reduced poverty rates and a rising middle class, countries once considered their counterparts in underdevelopment still lag behind.
China’s extreme poverty rate fell from 84 percent in 1981 to 12 percent in 2010 and India’s fell from 60 percent to 33 percent -- drastic decreases. But by some measures, poverty in sub-Saharan African countries has actually increased.
In the last three decades the number of poor people in the region has doubled, totalling 414 million. In 1981, only 11 percent of the world’s most impoverished came from sub-Saharan Africa, but as of 2010 it accounts for 34 percent of the pie.
Despite the overall decrease in poverty across the developing world, down from 52 percent to 21 percent over this same time period, poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has only decreased from 51 percent to 48 percent.
This three percentage point decrease however still counts for something. According to The Economist, the region’s average GDP growth has risen from 2.4 percent to 6 percent over the last two decades. Since 2000, foreign direct investment in Africa has tripled, with China accounting for a fair share of it, highlighting a 180-degree role change.
Africa may not be experiencing exponential growth rates like those of China and India. Slowly but surely, however, it is rising.