Disparities among countries are very significant in the Middle East and North Africa region: Qatar’s GDP, for example, is more than 73 times higher than Yemen’s, which is less than 1,000 kilometers away and has the second highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in the world at 58 per cent.
Disparities are also evident within countries: income, gender and geographic inequalities in the region keep children in a situation of poverty and vulnerability.
• In Egypt, 30 per cent of children in rural areas live in households that are poor, as compared with 13 per cent in urban areas.
• In Morocco, children in rural areas are more than 23 times more likely to be severely deprived of sanitation than children in urban areas.
• In Egypt One-fifth of children live in poverty.
• In Jordan, children account for nearly 60 per cent of the poor.
Average expenditure on social protection in the region is estimated at about 12.5 per cent of total expenditure, more than in other middle-income regions. However, most of this is spent on regressive subsidies, not benefitting the poorest.
UNICEF contributes to the development of social policies, systems and budgets that realize children’s rights and equity for all children, especially the most vulnerable.