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Fact 7: About three quarters of the African population live of less than $2, half of the population of less than $1.25 per day. People in rural areas are more often struck by poverty.

The average annual income in Sub-Saharan Africa is US-Dollar ($) 2,041 (= €1,540), or $5.60 (€4.23) per day. For comparison, the EU annual income is about $27,555 (app. €20,794) which is 13 times as much. In consequence of an uneven income distribution 73 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africans live of less than $2 (€ 1.51) per day and 51 per cent of as little as $1.25 (€0.94) per day. Overall, the rural population is hit much harder by poverty than people living in urban areas, which is one of the reasons for rural-urban migration prevalent in SSA.

Unfortunately, no statistical data exists about the disposable income of farmers or the rural population. Therefore, instead of the disposable income, the agricultural value added per person has been taken into account as rough indicator. The agri-value added per worker in Sub-Saharan Africa is about $318 (€240) per annum, compared to $17,781 (€13,418) in the EU.

Another interesting figure is the share of income spent on food. Estimations predict that in the Majority World, about 55 to 70 per cent of total income is spent on food, with only 12 per cent in the EU.


Comparison of income, agricultural value added, extreme poverty and income spent on food in Sub-Saharan Africa and the European Union

  Sub-Saharan Africa European Union    
Income per year and person $2,041 (€1540) $27,555 (€20794)
Income per day and person $5.6 (€4.23) $75.5 (€56.98)
Agri-value added per year and person $318 (€240) $17,781 (€13,418)
Share of population with less than $2 73 per cent -
Share of population with less than $1.25 51 per cent -
Share of income spent on food 55 to 70 per cent (estimation) 12 per cent

Average USD-Euro exchange rate (US-Dollar ($)/Euro (€)) in 2010: 1,325129423 (Source: www.OANDA.com)


Box: International Food Aid

International Food Aid plays a prominent role for sub-Saharan African food security. Only three (Botswana, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea) out of 44 countries did not receive food aid between 2000 and 2010. The annual average per inhabitant had been 3.7 kg and went down to 3.1kg between 2005 and 2010. In this period, 21 of 44 countries were able to reduce food aid compared to the period 2000 to 2005.

Low productivity countries (see also Fact 6) received about twice (7kg per person) as much food aid as countries with high productivity. All countries where yearly food aid exceeded 10 kilograms per person – Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Liberia – were involved in violent conflicts or war within the last 15 years.


The ten African countries with the lowest agricultural productivity and their dependency on food aid (2000-2010)

Countries with low agricultural productivity Region Food Aid per year and person in kg Years on Food Aid Recent Conflicts
Eritrea East 24.4 9 98-00
Somalia East 14.3 11 88; 90-92; 07-10
Sudan East 11.8 11 63-72; 83-92;-95-04;06
Liberia West 11.6 11 90; 03
Burundi East 6.6 11 98; 01-02
Angola Central 5.6 9 75-90; 92-94; 98-01
Rwanda Central 3.9 11 90; 94; 98; 01; 09
Central African Rep. Central 1.8 11 no
Tanzania East 1.6 11 no
Burkina Faso West 0.4 11 no




World Food Programme: Quantity Reporting: http://www.wfp.org/fais/quantity-reporting

Armed Conflict Data Set (only severe wars with more than 1,000 deaths per year were taken into account)http://www.pcr.uu.se/research/ucdp/datasets/ucdp_prio_armed_conflict_dataset/