Poverty Rates on the Rise

By Amal Sakr for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq has been struggling with an increase in poverty rates for many years. While the Iraqi Ministry of Planning notes that the rate of poverty has recently decreased, reaching 11%, statistics released by the World Bank show that 28% of Iraqi families live below the poverty line.

In the event that the country may face any kind of crisis, this rate could increase by 70%. This is currently happening because of the spike in violent acts and tense political situation.

The head of the Model Iraqi Women Organization, Athraa Hassani, provided Al-Monitor with this information, quoting World Bank officials who discussed these statistics during a meeting in Turkey with a number of members of civil society organizations seeking to find a solution to the poverty crisis in Iraq.

Hassani questions the accuracy of the poverty rates announced by the Iraqi government, affirming that these rates are continuously increasing because of a rise in daily violence and spike in unemployment rates in addition to a weakening of the Iraqi economy.

Based on the World Bank’s figures, this would mean that out of Iraq’s 34.7 million citizens, more than 9.5 million individuals are living below the poverty line.

Governor of Baghdad Ali al-Tamimi told Al-Monitor that the Iraqi government is not able to provide genuine solutions to deal with the poverty crisis in the country. Its role is limited to doling out a monthly salary for the poor, ranging between $40 and $100 depending on the number of family members.

This amount is disbursed every three months; however, it does not even meet the daily needs of families. Tamimi affirmed that poverty rates are very high, and that whoever says otherwise knows nothing about the situation of Iraqi society. Tamimi, like Hassani, objects to the attempt of some governmental sources to deceive the public regarding poverty rates in Iraq and the resulting risks.

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