A new report by the World Bank has some promising news. For the first time ever, they are expecting to see extreme global poverty rates drop below 10 percent.
Jim Yong Kim, the World’s Bank president, is delighted by the positive news that was published last month.
“This is the best news story in the world today,” he said. “These projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty.”
While the numbers are only projections, they are a step in the right direction to champion extreme poverty, an issue that continues to plague millions of people worldwide.
Extreme poverty was once defined as living on or below $1.25 a day. However, the World Bank has adjusted the daily wages and increased that amount to $1.90. The change reflects the cost of living differences across countries while “preserving the real purchasing power of the previous yardstick.”
In 2012, it was estimated by the World Bank that nearly 902 million people lived at or below the poverty line. That number equated to 12.8 percent of the population. Now, in 2015, that number has predicted to drop to 9.6 percent, or 702 million people.
The World Bank has attributed declining poverty to “healthy economic growth rates in emerging markets”. Investments in the realms of education and health are also contributors.
Last month, the United Nations, in collaboration with 193 countries, created a target to eliminate poverty by 2030. Kim called the goal “a highly ambitious target”. He warns that sluggish economic growth, coupled with conflicts and volatile financial markets will most likely stunt that wishful target.
“But it remains within our grasp, as long as our high aspirations are matched by country-led plans that help the still millions of people living in extreme poverty,” he added.
According to the World Bank, approximately half of the world’s poor will come from conflict-infected countries by the year 2020. As it currently stands, Sub-Saharan Africa hosts half of the world’s poor, an issue that the World Bank calls “a growing concern”.
“While some African countries have seen significant successes in reducing poverty, the region as a whole lags the rest of the world in the pace of lessening poverty,” they add.
Kaushik Basu, the chief economist for the World Bank says that the future of global poverty still holds some uncertainty, stating, “There is still some turbulence ahead.”
However, that “turbulence” remains overshadowed by the fact that global poverty has been slashed in half since 1990, a statistic that leaves much to be celebrated.
– Alyson Atondo
Sources: CNN, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Time