The study found a continued high birth rate among the poor in the Gariep Basin, so that the annual population growth now outstripped the increase in gross domestic product (GDP). The GDP per person has been declining steadily since 1980.As far as Lesotho is concerned, the gap between rich and poor has been widening since the late 1980s. Before then, I remember folks coming to Maseru for work from the surrounding villages, and actually finding work and accomodation. The curve was probably pointing upwards, then. What happened? The drought? Corruption? Qomatsi? AIDS?
The gap was widening between the educated, wealthy segment of the population and the uneducated, rapidly increasing poor population. This had resulted in a steady decrease in the human development index. This index, developed by the UN Development Programme, assesses human well-being by measuring factors like poverty, literacy, education and life expectancy.
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I think that this latter one must be defeated before we can hope for any kind of solace. Apartheid is officially gone, and it is true that it helped keep a certain percentage of the population hungry and under the water, despite more-than-enough food production in the region.
About 90 percent of South Africa's food consumption was met by domestic production, with enough calories and protein produced in the Gariep Basin to feed the country.
However, food insecurity still affected millions, a problem entrenched by apartheid policies that restricted access to land and other resources. The result is impoverished rural and peri-urban communities, surrounding pockets of affluence and wellbeing.
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