• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

World Bank sees 377m of world’s poor residing in SSA, South Asia by 2030

Mid-way into the ongoing annual meeting of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, the ‘Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015’ released on Wednesday revealed that an estimated 377 million of the world’s 412 million poor will likely reside in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) and South Asia by 2030.

In 2011, sub-Sahara African and South Asian regions were home to 814 million of the world’s 1 billion poor.

This revelation by the international monetary organisations comes as it said the number of poor people remains unacceptably high, at just over 1 billion (14 percent of the world population) in 2011, compared with 1.2 billion (19 percent of the world population) in 2008.

“The world has madegreat progress in the last quarter-century in reducing extreme poverty – it was cut by a stunning two-thirds – and now we have the opportunity to end poverty in less than a generation,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “But we will not finish the job unless we find ways to reduce inequality, which stubbornly persists all over the world. This vision of a more equal world means we must find ways to spread wealth to the billions who have almost nothing.”

The report notes that much success has been achieved in reducing extreme poverty – those living on less than a $1.25 a day. However, the number of poor remains unacceptably high, at just over 1 billion people (14 percent of the world population) in 2011, compared with 1.2 billion (19 percent of the world population) in 2008.

“If it is shocking to have a poverty line as low as $1.25 per day, it is even more shocking that 1/7th of the world’s population lives below this line,” said Kaushik Basu, senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank Group.

“The levels of inequality and poverty that prevail in the world today are totally unacceptable. This year’s Global Monitoring Report, which brings together in one volume a statistical picture of where the world stands in terms of these goals, is essential fodder for anyone wishing to take on these major challenges of our time.”

Though they claim that Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) target on poverty has been achieved three years ahead of the MDGs deadline of 2015. In addition, World Bank/IMF said three other MDGs sub-targets have been met, adding that those on gender equality in secondary education and the incidence of malaria could be met by 2015. “But the maternal and child mortality and sanitation sub-targets will not be met by the 2015 deadline.”

The report details, for the first time, the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity, measured as income growth of the bottom 40 percent.

“Despite the weakness in the global economy in 2014, we still project growth for low-income developing economies to be over 6 percent over the medium term, which bodes well for the world’s poor. We are generally optimistic about the growth prospects of the three regions with almost 95 percent of world’s poor in 2011 – East Asia, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, but need to keep in mind that there are many individual countries within these regions where growth prospects are less benign,” said Sean Nolan, IMF deputy director, strategy, policy, and review department.