Despite the hunger crisis, 2 out of 3 developing countries are on track to halve poverty.

16/08/2011 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

In spite of all the crises and disasters that dominate the news headlines, the real news for anyone concerned about global poverty is that two thirds of all developing countries are likely to halve poverty by 2015.

The World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2011 shows that in developing countries with a functioning, stable government real progress is being made in the fight against poverty.

 

This is especially true in South America and Asia. And many African countries are experiencing robust growth. Chief Economist for the Africa Development Bank Mthuli Ncube believes therefore that one in three Africans can now be called middle class in the sense that their incomes amount to $ 20 a day.

The overall picture is positive: The World Bank estimates that by 2015, 882.7 million people will be living below the $1.25 a day poverty line, compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990. This is mainly due to rapid growth in China and India, while many African countries are lagging behind.

  • The world as a whole is still on track to reach the poverty-reduction target, and by 2015, the global poverty rate should fall below 15% – well under the 23% target – despite setbacks from recent economic, food and energy crises.
  • Some of the poorest countries have made the greatest strides in education. For example, Burundi, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo and Tanzania have achieved or are nearing the goal of universal primary education.
  • The number of deaths of children under the age of five declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009, which means nearly 12,000 fewer children die each day.
  • Increased funding and intensive control efforts have cut deaths from malaria by 20% worldwide – from nearly 985,000 in 2000 to 781,000 in 2009.
  • New HIV infections have declined steadily. In 2009, some 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV – a 21% drop since 1997, when new infections peaked.
  • The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV or AIDS increased 13-fold from 2004 to 2009, thanks to increased funding and expanded programmes.
  • An estimated 1.1 billion people in urban areas and 723 million people in rural areas gained access to an improved drinking water source over the period 1990-2008.

“Developing countries as a whole will also likely achieve the MDGs for gender parity in primary and secondary education, for access to safe drinking water, and will be very close on hunger and primary education completion. But progress is too slow on meeting goals for child and maternal mortality as well as access to sanitation.” (See this interactive Atlas of Global Development)

Importantly however, even in those countries that are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), indigenous people and socially excluded groups are still very poor and marginalised.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said recently “Progress tends to bypass those who are lowest on the economic ladder or are otherwise disadvantaged because of their sex, age, disability or ethnicity, and disparities between urban and rural areas remain daunting.”

In other words, the glass is half full. The report shows that it is indeed possible to achieve the MDGs, if we continue to invest time, energy and resources.

And for this reason, NGOs in Ireland are demanding that the world “Act Now on 2015”.

www.ActNow2015.ie

Entry filed under: MDGs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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