Edwin Ikhuoria: “We can expect another 100 million falling under the poverty line.”
GP Video Interview on increasing poverty and food insecurity on the African continent during the COVID-19 pandemic
Edwin Ikhuoria is ONE’s Africa Executive Director, leading ONE’s advocacy work across the continent. Previously he was Senior Advisor (Policy and Advocacy) to the Africa Executive Director. With over 19 years in the development sector, Edwin previously managed the Transparency and Accountability portfolio for ONE in Africa as well as the Nigeria Country programme.
Co-founded by Bono and other activists, ONE is campaigning worldwide to end extreme poverty. ONE’s board of directors includes African entrepreneurs and philanthropists like Dr Mo Ibrahim and Aliko Dangote. Over the past months, ONE has been actively discussing the consequences of COVID-19 and the response of the international community. Its ONE World Campaign urges world leaders to join a global response plan to defeat the pandemic.
The nationwide lockdowns and border closures will have serious long-term consequences on the African continent, above all a higher level of poverty. “Over 400 million people were already living below the dollar-a-day line before corona started. With the spread of the pandemic, we can expect another 100 million falling under that elevated poverty line”, Edwin Ikhuoria states.
Food insecurity and nutrition are directly linked to this development. People cannot afford buying food, and what remains is not enough: “Those who were eating three times a day reduced it to twice, many resort into bagging or even stealing”, Edwin emphasizes. “The long-term impact of this crisis will be that people simply lose their livelihoods. This new level of poverty will take away all the progress we have made in the past 25 years.
”Africa’s youth bring tremendous qualifications and potential for the continent’s future. However, due to the harsh consequences of the corona crisis, the prospects in their home countries dwindle. “Young people are very mobile. When the conditions become unbearable on the African continent, they will migrate to Europe.”
Edwin underscores that a long-term equal partnership between Europe and Africa must be based on agreement on how to prioritise Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) and enhance social welfare, so that Africa’s youth can develop its potential and lives are improved sustainably.
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