World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, in Washington at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Group annual general meetings announced that the World Bank has set an interim target to reduce global poverty to 9 percent in 2020, which, if achieved, would mark the first time the rate has fallen into the single digit.
This looks a tall order for Africa countries especially Nigeria where the poverty rate has been officially put at about 64 per cent. The year 2020 is remarkable for Nigeria as it plans to become the 20th largest economy in that year.
The milestone of reducing global poverty to a single digit by 2020 was based on a World Bank economic analysis of global poverty trends toward reaching a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Living in extreme poverty is defined as below $1.25 a day.
World Bank Group economists said if developing countries continued their strong growth rates in the coming seven years - far from a given -- the global rate would dip below 10 percent for the first time since such figures were first reported in the World Development Report in 1990. Since 1990, when 43 percent of the people living in developing countries lived in poverty, global poverty has been in a steady retreat.
An estimated 1.9 billion people lived in poverty in 1990, and that number fell to 1.2 billion in 2010 according to the Bank report.
Reaching 9 percent in 2020 would mean an estimated 690 million people would still be living in extreme poverty. If achieved, the world would have 510 million fewer people living in poverty in 2020, compared to a decade earlier. That would be the equivalent of half of the population of the continent of Africa, or more than double the population of Indonesia.
"Setting this target reminds us we are on the cusp of something historic - ridding the world of the scourge of people living in such abysmal conditions," Kim said yesterday on the eve of the opening of the 2013 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. "It also means that all of us - developing country leaders and their partners, including the World Bank Group - need to up their game now in order to end extreme poverty. We need to help developing countries accelerate growth, attract private investment, and create good jobs."
Last April, the Governors of the World Bank Group endorsed two goals for the organisation that of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity of the bottom 40 percent of the population in all developing countries.
At this week's annual meetings, the Governors of the World Bank Group will consider the Bank Group strategy that for the first time will unite all parts of the institution - the Bank, which works with governments; IFC, the private sector arm; and MIGA, which issues political risk insurance - and align them toward meeting its two goals.