Facts and Statistics

Poverty, hunger, and disease are an everyday reality for indigenous peoples in sub-Saharan Africa.


About half of sub-Saharan Africa’s population – 315 million people – lives on less than $1 a day. In the rural areas where the AAC is active, approximately 70% of the population lives below the local poverty line. For every 100 people, 20 have electricity at home. Only one has a phone line.In 2000, half of the world’s poor people were Africans.


The number of hungry grew in Africa over the period, from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added in the last few years. Nearly one in four are hungry. And in sub-Saharan Africa, the modest progress achieved in recent years up to 2007 was reversed, with hunger rising 2 percent per year since then.

Children are the most visible victims of under nutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths. Under nutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. The estimated proportions of deaths in which under nutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea (61%), malaria (57%), pneumonia (52%), and measles (45%) (Black 2003, Bryce 2005). Malnutrition can also be caused by diseases, such as the diseases that cause diarrhea, by reducing the body's ability to convert food into usable nutrients


Two-thirds of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 12 percent of the world’s population.1 HIV and AIDS has caused immense human suffering in the continent. The most obvious effect of this crisis has been illness and death, but the impact of the epidemic has certainly not been confined to the health sector; households, schools, workplaces and economies have also been badly affected.

During 2010 alone, an estimated 1.2 million adults and children died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa.2 Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 15 million Africans have died from AIDS-related illnesses.3

In many cases, the presence of AIDS causes the household to dissolve, as parents die and children are sent to relatives for care and upbringing. A study in rural South Africa suggested that households in which an adult had died from AIDS were four times more likely to dissolve than those in which no deaths had occurred.10 Much happens before this dissolution takes place: AIDS strips families of their assets and income earners, further impoverishing the poor.

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