Although global poverty has been trending downwards over the past century, the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unparalleled setback to nations’ efforts to improve the well-being of their citizens. However, governments, NGOs and IGOs alike have created new strategies to get incomes back on track. Here are five trending approaches to alleviating global poverty:
5 Trending Approaches to Alleviating Global Poverty
- Expanding purchasing power through cash payments. The government of Niger attempted this approach for citizens living below the poverty line. A mere 24 monthly payments of $16 caused household spending power to double. This increase in spending money also allowed beneficiaries to gain more free time. Economists in this experimental trial noticed that the households tended to utilize this free time for increased productivity instead of leisure, which caused a greater increase in economic activity.
- Cash transfers with a larger purpose. Burundi’s cash transfer program also teaches citizens living in poverty to manage budgets, create financial goals and execute entrepreneurial goals. The cash transfers have allowed-for beneficiaries to reap the rewards of higher schooling, agricultural entrepreneurship and reduced rates of malnutrition.
- Trade agreements for a better-connected world. The proposed African Continental Free Trade Area is projected to raise wages by 9% and remove many barriers to trade that cause a reduction in economic activity. By 2035 this trade agreement could bring 18 million new jobs and a 32% raise in African exports.
- Promoting sustainability through aid. The Swiss government pledged $155 million to the United Nations Development Program’s fight to promote sustainability and alleviate global poverty. This funding allows for an increase in democratization, civic engagement and income equality.
- Encouraging gender equality in education. The World Bank estimates that the education gap between men and women has cost $30 trillion in lost economic activity that would have occurred if education levels were equal. Since women with a secondary education earn twice as much on average as those with no education, the correlation between wealth and education is both strong and convincing. The Malala Fund aims to utilize political advocacy to ensure that all girls across the globe can access 12 years of free education. By closing this education gap, economic activity will increase in developing nations where girls do not have access to schooling.
The economies of both developing and industrialized nations took a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many developing nations lacked the capabilities to remotely learn and work, which caused these nations to face even more economic turmoil than their industrialized counterparts. For example, U.S. internet penetration rates are approximately 89%, compared to developing nations such as Zimbabwe, where only 21% of citizens have access to the internet. Although there was an unprecedented upswing in poverty rates during the pandemic, strategic approaches to education equality, entrepreneurship and international aid can prevent further setbacks in the fight against global poverty.
– Salvatore Brancato