BY: DAVID LAO
If you haven’t noticed yet, life ain’t easy for everybody. Some of us get a free ride while others have to work ceaselessly to make ends meet. Today, being born into a bit more money can make all the difference in the world. It’s the factor that decides whether or not you get an education, how much food is in your stomach and how much debt you will incur.
Some would say that it’s just how the world works. And yet, in a recent statement issued by the World Bank, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to fall to under 10 per cent of the world’s population by the end of 2015. The exact number is around 702 Million, or 9.6 per cent as opposed to the 902 Million people, or 12 per cent estimated for 2012.
Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank
“When global organizations set global goals, we have to be able to compare progress across countries using a common measure, treating the absolute poor in one country the same as in another, “ said Ana Revenga, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice in the World Bank’s press release.
The World Bank currently constitutes those earning below $1.90 USD a day to be living in extreme poverty, which is an abysmally low amount, but can still be enough to sustain oneself living in the poorest of countries. The benchmark used to be $1 USD per day, which was set in 1990, but was later increased to $1.25 USD in 2008, and again to $1.90 USD after their latest revision, all taking into account the information concerning the cost of living across all countries.
“This is the best story in the world today—these projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty,’’ said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim in the World Bank’s press release. “This new forecast of poverty falling into the single digits should give us new momentum and help us focus even more clearly on the most effective strategies to end extreme poverty.”
Kim, who assumed presidency of the World Bank back in 2012 had his visions alongside the World Bank set to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, and to raising the incomes of the bottom 40 per cent of the population.
He said that the reasons for the huge reductions in poverty were due to the large growth rates of developing countries in recent years. Countries such as India and China contributed to this as their economies and standard of living began to dramatically increase. Kim warned however that slow economic growth, high youth-unemployment, climate change and the overall amount of remaining poverty would make eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, among other things, an ambitious task.
The Bank stated that even though there has been some major progress, the entirety of it is still too uneven as some poverty-stricken regions of the world aren’t able to keep up. Sub-Saharan Africa still contains about half of the global poor, the region being a major poverty hotspot. Poverty rates in this area declined from 56 per cent in 1990 to an estimated 34 per cent in 2015, with the bank stating that these were only projections due to delays in getting accurate poverty information from the least developed countries.
Kim also said further reductions in poverty would come from evidence-based approaches such as: income-earning opportunities, investments in quality of education, health sanitation and the overall protection of the poor and vulnerable.
“With these strategies in place, the world stands a vastly better chance of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and raising the life prospects of low-income families,” said Kim in the press release.