Category Archives: poverty

Will Congo’s poor benefit from world’s largest dam project?

Pambazuka News

Despite being in the path of this huge project, the people have very little information about the dam and the impacts it will bring to their lives. The situation is the same everywhere in Africa where poor communities are relocated to make way for huge infrastructure projects

Rudo Sanyanga
congo4Africa’s poorest nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), plans to build the world’s largest (and most expensive) hydropower dam, Grand Inga on the Congo River’s Inga Falls. A day before I set forth for the DRC, the huge project took a significant step forward with the signing of a “cooperation treaty” by the DRC and South African governments. The treaty makes South Africa the principal purchaser of the power generated at Inga III power plant, the first phase of the Grand Inga. The country will buy 2500 MW of the total 4800 MW from the proposed dam. The balance will be sold to mining companies in Katanga in southeastern DRC. As expected, the signing event, held in Paris in May, attracted a lot of media coverage and excitement within the government circles in the DRC and internationally. It made headline news within the DRC for a week running. My mission was to see for myself what challenges that damming the Congo River at Inga Falls would bring. Continue reading Will Congo’s poor benefit from world’s largest dam project?

The Pope Against Poverty

By Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro

As a lifelong Catholic whose values were formed in the parish of St. Michael’s in Wooster Square, New Haven, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last March to be there when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope. With charisma, grace, and humility, an open heart and an inclusive vision, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke eloquently about the message of his Papacy and the choice of Francis as his name, the first so named in the two-millennium history of the Church.

The symbolism is unmistakable. Is there any saint in Christian history more beloved than Francis of Assisi? The choice reflects that this papacy will be centered, as was the life of Francis of Assisi, on the call to service, and on our moral responsibility to the least fortunate and most vulnerable members of our society. Pope Francis knows these struggles firsthand. He is the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina – immigrants seeking a better life. His father was a railroad worker. In his brief tenure so far, he has urged the Church to look outward – not to be obsessed purely with its internal struggles, but to see that its flock is suffering. Continue reading The Pope Against Poverty

UK: Catholic charities fight to survive government cuts

Independent Catholic News

The Society helps more than 2,000 children each year
The Society helps more than 2,000 children each year

Research by False Economy, a campaigning group against cuts in public expenditure has found that more than 2,000 charities are closing services or reducing their staff because local authorities are withdrawing or reducing their funding to charities by £110 million.

Commenting on the findings and the impact of cuts upon charities supporting children and young people, Dr Rosemary Keenan, Chief Executive of the Catholic Children’s Society said: “Children are amongst the most vulnerable within our society, it is particularly worrying that charities working to support them are facing cuts of mre than £17.04 million with an average cut of 64% to the charities affected.” Continue reading UK: Catholic charities fight to survive government cuts

How Poor Is Too Poor?

New Internationalist
The world is on track to meet the first of the Millennium Development Goals – to halve the number of people living below the poverty line by 2015. The trouble is that this line – set at a dollar a day – is a deeply flawed and unreliable measure of poverty. David Woodward explains why, and proposes a radical new rights-based measure.

More than a billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. Desmond Boylan / Reuters

How we define poverty is critically important. Poverty is a moral concept: ‘poor’ is something we consider that people should not be. So, by setting our poverty targets according to a particular poverty line, we are saying that it is quite acceptable for people to live at that level of income, just as long as they don’t fall below it.

Millennium Development Goal One defines poverty as having an income below the dollar-a-day line – although actually this is now $1.25 per person per day, at purchasing power parity (PPP), at 2005 prices. This means that it is an income which would buy the same as $1.25-a-day in the US in 2005. Continue reading How Poor Is Too Poor?

General Zuma and troops face defeat

Sunday Independent
What is the status of the South African state’s War on Poverty (WoP)? We don’t really know, because it is one of the most clandestine operations in SA history, with status reports kept confidential by a floundering army in rapid retreat from the front. Initially, the WoP appeared as a major national project. Early hubris characterised the wa r, as happens in most, with victory claimed even before then-president Thabo Mbeki officially launched it in his February 2008 State of the Nation speech. Five months earlier, Trevor Manuel bragged to Parliament that South Africans in poverty “dropped steadily from 52.1 percent in 1999 to 47 percent in 2004 and to 43.2 percent by March this year”. Continue reading General Zuma and troops face defeat

Inequality costs the earth

New Internationalist
If we really want to avert climate change, argues Bob Hughes, we’d better tackle inequality first.

Divided we fall: social inequality adversely affects the rich as well as the poor. © Mark Henley / PANOS

The modern global economy doesn’t just run on fossil fuels. It runs on inequality, which now stands indicted by a rapidly growing mountain of evidence, as the real driving force behind all the harms, and more, that have led to climate change. A world without inequality is not just desirable: it’s an urgent necessity. And it can be achieved. The market may or may not have an ‘invisible hand’ but it most definitely has an ‘invisible foot’ – inequality – which has been bearing down harder and harder on the world and its people in the frenzied pursuit of economic growth. Emissions will not reduce until that pressure is eased. Continue reading Inequality costs the earth

Thousands protest against World Cup spending

Mail and Guardian


Security guards leave Soccer City in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Stadium stewards went on strike for better wages. The strikes were part of a wider dispute between security staff at the World Cup stadiums and a private contractor. (Guillermo Arias, AP)

Thousands of South Africans staged a march on Wednesday to protest against lavish spending on the tournament and the sacking of security staff, inflicting a new embarrassment on organisers.

As the country marked the 34th anniversary of the Soweto uprising against apartheid rule, about 3 000 people marched in Durban to denounce Fifa and the government for their spending priorities when millions live in poverty.

“Get out Fifa mafia!” chanted the crowds in a Durban park, their ranks swelled by stewards who were involved in clashes with riot police on Monday after protests over their wages.

Monday’s protests triggered walkouts by other stewards, which have led South Africa’s police to take control at the World Cup stadiums in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban. Continue reading Thousands protest against World Cup spending

Petroleum, pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta

AFR 44/017/2009
Amnesty International
June 2009

2.1. Oil Spills

The Niger Delta has suffered for decades from oil spills, which occur both on land and offshore. Oil spills on land destroy crops and damage the quality and productivity of soil that communities use for farming. Oil in water damages fisheries and contaminates water that people use for drinking and other domestic purposes. There are a number of reasons why oil spills happen so frequently in the Niger Delta. Spills result from corrosion of oil pipes, poor maintenance of infrastructure, spills or leaks during processing at refineries, human error and as a consequence of deliberate vandalism or theft of oil. Continue reading Petroleum, pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta

Speculators must stop exploiting poor nations, says Vatican official

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican supports international efforts to prevent speculative investors from exploiting heavily indebted poor countries, said a top Vatican official. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the church’s representative to U.N. organizations in Geneva, said so-called vulture funds are taking advantage of current international debt-relief measures. Continue reading Speculators must stop exploiting poor nations, says Vatican official