Where I live, it is a total furnace.
People are battling the hardest circumstances imaginable, and there is simply nothing that is happening to end extreme poverty.
My country Uganda is among the poorest in Sub Saharan Africa, but my region Busoga is the poorest in Uganda, while my two neighboring districts Kamuli & Buyende are the worst in Busoga itself.
And although the poverty rate in Busoga is 74.8% against a national average of 63%, if you factored out Busoga’s urban places, such as the popular tourist city of Jinja, and others, it is safe to say that the poverty rate in individual remote rural communities in Busoga’s countryside, such as my village of Namisita, is well in the 90%+.
Because the fact is: the poverty here is unspeakable. There are entire households that find it very hard to even merely afford soap or salt.
The bigger problem:
Extreme poverty is increasingly becoming a problem of only one part of the world: Sub Saharan Africa.
One pre-pandemic projection by the World Bank (in 2018) indicated that, by 2030, over 90% of the world’s extreme poor (400m+) will live in Sub Saharan Africa. It should be noted, however, that Sub Saharan African poverty itself isn’t created equal. It is tougher in given regions, and I happen to be living in one of its hotspots.
My country Uganda is among the crème de la crème of Sub Saharan African poverty, and is among the poorest countries worldwide.
But my region Busoga is the ultimate furnace.
As a country, Uganda has its own place, as far as Sub Saharan African poverty is concerned. Eastern Uganda, meanwhile, which is where I live, and where I am seated even now, is Uganda’s most impoverished.
At 39,479 sq km, eastern Uganda is bigger than Rwanda and The Gambia combined, and has an estimated population of 10.5 million.
On the other hand, my region Busoga, also in eastern Uganda, stretches 10,318 sq km, nearly the size of The Gambia.
But, if you spoke to anyone elsewhere in Uganda, i.e., those who do not live in Busoga, and asked them what they know about Busoga, the very first thing that they will tell you is the severe poverty.
Even those people in other parts of Uganda who themselves live in abject poverty, and who themselves do not have anything — as long as they belong to a place other than Busoga — one thing that they will tell you about Busoga is the ultra poverty. Yet they don’t even live here.
And they are right. According to a 2021 report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (which you can also read about here), Busoga is the poorest in eastern Uganda, and in Uganda as a whole.
Be it in the media, as you can see in this November 8, 2022 article, or in this November 7, 2022 address by Uganda’s opposition politician Bobi Wine, or in this 2017 article, poverty in Busoga is the talk everywhere.