World Bank urges end to extreme poverty by 2030

AFP , Tuesday 2 Apr 2013

World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim called for a global drive to wipe out extreme poverty by 2030, acknowledging that reaching the goal will require extraordinary efforts

World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday called for a global drive to wipe out extreme poverty by 2030, acknowledging that reaching the goal will require extraordinary efforts.

"A world free of poverty is within our grasp. It is time to help everyone across the globe secure a one-way ticket out of poverty and stay on the path toward prosperity," Kim said in a speech in Washington, according to the prepared text.

The World Bank president said that in practical terms, the goal would be to lower the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 21 percent of the world's population in 2010 to just three percent by 2030.

"Below 3.0 percent, the nature of the poverty challenge will change fundamentally in most parts of the world. The focus will shift from broad structural measures to tackling sporadic poverty among specific vulnerable groups," Kim said in a speech at Georgetown University.

"Though we will continue to reach out to those who suffer from sporadic and occasional poverty, the fight against mass poverty that countries have waged for centuries will be won."

In 2000, the international community set eight UN Millennium Development Goals to be reached by 2015. One of them, to halve extreme poverty, was accomplished in 2010, five years ahead of time, Kim noted, after developing countries invested in social safety nets and created buffers to protect against crises.

"To reach the 2030 goal, we must halve global poverty once, then halve it again, and then nearly halve it a third time -- all in less than one generation," he said.

To do that will require three main factors, he said.

Higher economic growth rates will be needed, in particular sustained high growth in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Efforts must be made to curb inequality and ensure that growth reduces poverty, especially through job creation.

And potential shocks, such as new food, fuel, or financial crises and climatic disasters, must be averted or cushioned.

The World Bank president also set another poverty-reduction target that is less measurable: to increase the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population in each country.

Kim, speaking ahead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington later in the month, said the goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity require coordinated efforts.

"They are goals which we hope our partners -- our 188 member countries -- will achieve, with the support of the World Bank Group and the global development community," he said.

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