World Bank sees global poverty to slip below 10% for first time

By Money Times

Oct 05, 2015 10:15 PM EDT

The percentage of poor people in the global population is expected to fall below 10 percent in 2015 for the first time, according to the forecast made by World Bank.

Taking Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) into consideration, the World Bank has updated the definition of the global poverty line to $1.90 a day from previous $1.25 per day based on 2005 prices.

Based on this benchmark, the number of poor people below the international poverty line reduced from 902 million or 12.8 percent of the global population in 2012 to 702 million or 9.6 percent this year.

Considering the present adverse conditions in the global economy, World Bank Group President said that it's an extraordinarily hard to end poverty in stipulated time frame.

The latest forecast gives an optimistic view on the projections of eradicating poverty by 2030.

Though low-income countries provide data on poverty with a time gap, but World Bank updated the data with latest available inputs and released it at the annual meeting held in Lima, Peru. 

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim attributes the reason for the reduction in poverty to strong growth rates in developing nations during the recent years.

The increased investment in education, health and social safety is helping people come out of poverty. However, he cautioned that global economy slowdown and political unrest and war-hit countries are posing a major challenge to the objective of eradication of poverty. 

Kim assumed charge of President at World Bank Group in April 2013. Board of Governors has set two goals including ending poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity by raising the income of 40 percent of the population from the bottom level.

While saying that ending extreme poverty is a highly ambitious target, Kim said: "The new forecast of poverty slipping into single digit should give us new momentum and help end extreme poverty. It'll be extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment and growing impact of climate change."

However, economists question that how a person can make a living with $1.90 a day. What're the things one can buy with $1.90 in the US. They question that a person who's living with $1.90 a day can buy at the US prices.

Can he buy food, clothing, soaps, housing, medical care, etc, in the US. How the purchasing power parity is adjusted by World Bank to arrive at $1.90 a day benchmark defining the international poverty line.

It's estimated that the average living cost in England is GBP1,600 a month. Then how can a person live in the UK with $2 per day? 

World Bank observes that poverty is more evident in conflict-ridden countries. Countries, which depend more on commodities, are facing turbulent conditions in their economies. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for half of the poor population in the world. About 12 percent poor people live in East Asia. 

After considering the agreed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) this year, the report on global poverty has been prepared. These will further set the development agenda for United Nations (UN) to be implemented in member states for next 15 years. The very objective of Sustainable Development Goals is to end poverty. 

World Bank President believes that reduction of poverty can be achieved through creating sufficient income earning opportunities, investing in development prospects and quality of education, health, sanitation, etc.

Kim also highlighted the need to protect poor and vulnerable groups from sudden risk of unemployment, hunger, illness, drought and other natural calamities.

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