The St. Kitts and Nevis government launched an enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Project this week.

The project was launched on November 30 at a ceremony held at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort. Its goals are to determine the extent, severity and causes of poverty across the islands, so the government may look to develop policies and programmes aimed at improving the overall quality of life of affected individuals.

The project is in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean State, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.

Ms. Beverly Harris, who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, said this is the third Country Poverty Assessment to be carried out in St. Kitts and Nevis.

The last was completed in 2007–2008.

“The findings of the 2007-08 study revealed a National Poverty Rate of 21.8 percent of individuals across St. Kitts and Nevis. The Headcount Index for St. Kitts was 23.7 percent whereas the indigent level was 1.4 percent – that is those below the poverty line. The Headcount in Nevis on the other hand was 15.9 percent, with a very low indigent level of 0.4 percent,” Ms. Harris revealed.

“The comparative data for the two assessments revealed that the poverty rate for St. Kitts moved from 30.5 percent in 2000 to 23.7 percent in 2007-08. The National Poverty Rate stood at 21.8 percent; the indigent rate moved 11 percent, slightly more than 1 in 10 individuals, to a mere 1.4 percent in 2007-08.”

 

Ms. Ann-Marie Chandler, who works as a social analyst at the Caribbean Development Bank, said that poverty remains a key impediment to development in the region, and the project outcomes are extremely important for the government to be able to make policy decisions that will have real impact.

The prime minister Dr. Timothy Harris noted that progress had been made to reduce the poverty rate between 2000 and 2007-2008, but that due to continually changing socio-economic factors in St. Kitts and Nevis, it is important to conduct a new study to understand how poverty impacts individuals.

 

The Country Poverty Assessment consists of four core elements: an assessment of the macro-economic, social and economic environment, an institutional analysis, a national survey of living conditions and household budgets, and a participatory poverty assessment.