As global in­come gap grows, poor need more aid

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD - (Reuters)

DE­VEL­OP­MENT aid is fail­ing to im­prove the lives of the poor­est 20 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished yes­ter­day that pre­dicted grow­ing global in­equal­ity.

Poverty rates were halved un­der the United Na­tions Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals, which were adopted in 2000 and re­placed in 2015 with 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals to end poverty, in­equal­ity and other global crises.

How­ever, the over­all drop in poverty rates has been ac­com­pa­nied by a widen­ing in­come gap be­tween the most im­pov­er­ished and the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Bri­tain­based De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tives.

“It’s not to say we are not do­ing good things with that aid money, but we’re not us­ing it as ef­fec­tively as we could if our am­bi­tion is gen­uinely to end ex­treme poverty,” said Amy Dodd, a de­vel­op­ment fi­nance ex­pert at the re­search con­sul­tancy.

Richer na­tions need to meet their donor com­mit­ments and di­rect aid more to­ward those “left be­hind,” the au­thors said.

The aver­age in­come of the poor­est 20 per­cent of the global pop­u­la­tion was US$0.94 a day in 1990. Ad­justed for in­fla­tion, it stands at US$1.73 to­day, while the widely-rec­og­nized bench­mark for mea­sur­ing ex­treme poverty is US$1.90 a day.

The aver­age earn­ings of the rest of the pop­u­la­tion grew from US$12.85 in 1990 to US$18.63 to­day, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

If noth­ing changes, the gap in earn­ings be­tween the poor­est peo­ple and the rest of the pop­u­la­tion will grow to close to US$19 by 2030, which would be al­most dou­ble what it was in 1990.

The poor­est 20 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion are of­ten mi­nori­ties, those liv­ing in con­flict or post-con­flict coun­tries, peo­ple in na­tions with frag­ile gov­ern­ments, and those most af­fected by cli­mate change, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“De­vel­op­ment in the next 10 years is go­ing to be about deal­ing with fragility and it is some­thing that we can no longer avoid, so we have to get much smarter at that,” said Dan Cop­pard, re­search di­rec­tor at De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tives.

The fu­ture is es­pe­cially bleak for peo­ple in Sub-Sa­ha­ran African coun­tries such as Mali and Benin, as well as Syria and Afghanistan.

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