According to Zimstat’s latest release of the Poverty Analysis in Zimbabwe, our poverty datum line stands between $430 and $574 for an average household of 5 and $96 for a self-sustaining individual, depending on location (provincial stats).
A poverty datum line (PDL) represents the cost of a given standard of living that must be attained if a person is deemed not to be poor.
Basically, a household’s income should be able to buy the quantities of food, shelter, and clothing, deemed necessary for their basic upkeep.
Zimbabwe’s PDL represents a best case scenario where a family actually has a breadwinner(s) or an individual does have a source of income, whether this is actually the case is a question worth asking. In the current state of our economy, many Zimbabweans live well below the PDL and those with jobs probably earn far below it too. The PDL is a representation of a “best case scenario” in Zimbabwe.
So with Zimbabweans struggling to afford a basic standard of living with many living below the PDL, who can actually afford such high costs to basic services like communication? Communication is an economic enabler that can lift people above poverty as they are now able to access internet-based services and tools and create their own employment communicating easily with both clients and suppliers.
With communication slowly moving towards the internet, high costs of data are creating barriers for normal citizens to utilize tools and applications that can help them be self-sufficient. A conversation over emails can change an individual fortune in a day.
At $30 for 1 Gb, Zimbabwe has the 3rd most expensive data in Africa, yet we have high unemployment, low wages, and a high PDL. In the public’s best interest POTRAZ should review its data tariffs and allow people do work with the internet to create self-employment and provide for themselves or their families.
Download the Zimbabwe Poverty Datum Line report here, let us know what you think are the reasons for the high costs of the internet in Zimbabwe.
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