The number of people living in extreme poverty around the world is likely to fall to under 10 percent of the global population in 2015, the World Bank has said.
World Bank projections give fresh evidence that a quarter-century-long sustained reduction in poverty is moving the world closer to the historic goal of ending poverty by 2030.
Despite the use of an updated international poverty line of US $1.90 (N380) a day, which incorporates new information on differences in the cost of living across countries (the PPP exchange rates), the bank is optimistic about decline in global poverty.
“The new line preserves the real purchasing power of the previous line (of $1.25 a day in 2005 prices) in the world’s poorest countries,” the bank said in a statement.
“Using this new line (as well as new country-level data on living standards), the World Bank projects that global poverty will have fallen from 902 million people or 12.8 per cent of the global population in 2012 to 702 million people, or 9.6 per cent of the global population, this year.”
“Actual poverty data from low income countries come with a considerable lag but the organization, which released the information on the eve of its Annual Meetings in Lima, Peru, based its current projections on the latest available data.”
Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group (WBG) president said that the continued major reductions in poverty were due to strong growth rates in developing countries in recent years.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“It will be extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment, and the growing impact of climate change. 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.”
In April 2013, WBG board of governors endorsed two goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030, and to boost shared prosperity by raising the incomes of the bottom 40 percent of populations.
With this forecast, the WBG is closer to its goal of eradicating poverty, even in poverty-concentrated Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
For the last several decades, three regions, East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, have accounted for some 95 percent of global poverty.
In its regional forecasts for 2015, the Bank said that poverty in East Asia and the Pacific would fall to 4.1 per cent of its population, down from 7.2 per cent in 2012.
Latin America and the Caribbean would fall to 5.6 per cent from 6.2 in 2012; South Asia would fall to 13.5 per cent in 2015, compared to 18.8 per cent in 2012 and Sub-Saharan Africa declines to 35.2 per cent in 2015, compared to 42.6 per cent in 2012.