Fewer peo­ple liv­ing be­low poverty line, in­equal­ity lingers: World Bank

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

NEW YORK: The num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty has de­clined by more than 100 mil­lion across the world de­spite a slug­gish global econ­omy, the World Bank said on Sun­day.

The World Bank said 767 mil­lion peo­ple were liv­ing on less than US$1.90 (RM7.84) a day in 2013, its lat­est com­pre­hen­sive data, down from 881 mil­lion peo­ple the pre­vi­ous year, with the strong­est in­come rises in Asia.

“It’s re­mark­able that coun­tries have con­tin­ued to re­duce poverty and boost shared pros­per­ity at a time when the global econ­omy is un­der­per­form­ing,” Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s pres­i­dent, said in a state­ment.

The new fig­ures con­firm progress made in help­ing the poor over the past quar­ter cen­tury. The world has nearly 1.1 bil­lion fewer poor in 2013 than in 1990, de­spite pop­u­la­tion growth, the bank said.

The find­ings bring the world closer to meet­ing the United Na­tions goal of end­ing ex­treme poverty by 2030.

The tar­get is part of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, a set of 17 goals to com­bat poverty, in­equal­ity and cli­mate change.

But meet­ing that tar­get will also mean tack­ling per­sis­tent in­equal­ity, the bank said.

“Meet­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s tar­gets by 2030 will ac­tu­ally re­quire that the world takes on in­equal­ity and it makes growth more in­clu­sive,” Fran­cisco Fer­reira, se­nior ad­viser on the World Bank’s De­vel­op­ment Re­search Group, said in a call to jour­nal­ists.

In­come in­equal­ity had widened over the 25 years to 2013, the bank said.

Still, lat­est data shows in­equal­ity has less­ened in more than 40 coun­tries – in­clud­ing Brazil, Peru, Mali and Cam­bo­dia, it said.

Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa ac­counts for half of those liv­ing in ex­treme poverty, ac­cord­ing to the bank. A third of the global poor live in South Asia.

Poverty re­duc­tion was driven mainly by coun­tries in East Asia and the Asia Pa­cific, par­tic­u­larly China, In­done­sia and In­dia, the bank said.

Last year, the bank said the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty was likely in 2015 to fall for the first time be­low 10% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. – Reuters

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