The Gaza Strip ranks third across the Arab region in terms of poverty rates after Sudan and Yemen, according a World Bank report. The report finds that the poverty rate is 38 per cent in Gaza, 28 per cent in Lebanon, and 25 per cent in Iraq.
Out of 144 countries included in the report worldwide, Gaza is the 44th poorest. The majority of the countries with higher poverty rates than Gaza are in Africa.
However the report does not adequately address the role of the Israeli occupation in deepening both the poverty and unemployment rates in Gaza, and it does not even mention the two wars that Israel launched on Gaza in recent years, resulting in the destruction of essential infrastructure and private sector investments, all of which has resulted in a rise in the poverty rates.
The report also reveals that around 13 per cent of Palestinians suffer from extreme poverty – the rate is 7.8 per cent in the West Bank and 21.1 per cent in Gaza.
Chad, Haiti and Liberia rank as the poorest countries worldwide, with more than 80 per cent of their populations living in extreme poverty.
The exact poverty line is relative, but is known internationally to constitute the minimum income rate required for providing basic life needs, such as food, clothing, housing, and health care. All those who fail to obtain life’s basic needs are considered to be living in extreme poverty.
In 2008 the World Bank raised its poverty line estimate from $1 to $1.25, adjusted at the purchasing power parity level for 2005 to allow for a comparison across countries.
Saudi Arabia has the tenth lowest poverty rate worldwide and ranks the highest among the Arab region in terms of minimising poverty.
Taiwan has the lowest poverty rate worldwide – only 1.5 per cent of Taiwan’s population lives in poverty, followed by Malaysia at 3.8 per cent, Ireland at 5.5 per cent, Austria at 6.2 per cent, then Thailand and France at 7.8 per cent, Switzerland at 7.9 per cent, Canada at 9.4 per cent, the Netherlands at 10.5 per cent, and Saudi Arabia at 12.7 per cent.
Source: Quds Press