The number of people living in extreme poverty is falling, but not as fast as the UN countries assumed almost 10 years ago. The ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty will not be achieved. If it weren’t for the pandemic, the result would definitely be better.
The number of people living in extreme poverty, that is, forced to live on less than $1.25 a day, is decreasing. In 2015, there were 800 million of them in the world, and in 2023, according to World Bank estimates, 691 million. This is the first decline since the pandemic – we read in the analysis of the Polish Economic Institute.
Previously, the number of people in the world suffering from extreme poverty was decreasing. Between 2005 and 2019 it decreased by half. According to data from 2019, below the international poverty line, i.e. for less than $1.90. daily. Unfortunately, the positive trend of reducing poverty areas has been stopped or even reversed by the coronavirus pandemic.
It will not be possible to implement the 2030 Agenda
In 2015, all UN member states approved a plan called the 2030 Agenda. They committed to eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. In addition, states agreed to reduce by at least half the percentage of men, women and children suffering from poverty within the limits set by national definitions. . Poverty has a different face in the rich countries of Western Europe and another in the countries of southern South Asia.
It is already known that it will not be possible to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.
Current projections covering the period until the end of this decade do not assume significant improvement in reducing extreme poverty. The World Bank’s forecast indicates that in 2030, 574 million people will be in extreme poverty, which will correspond to almost 7%. world population. A similar result is assumed by the new UN University forecast (UNU-WIDER), which uses the economic growth forecasts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from April 2023 and takes into account the impact of recent shocks on the economy, such as the war in Ukraine and the pandemic (progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals). development was already progressing slowly before the pandemic, but the pandemic stopped it).
Most poor people live in Africa
The increase in extreme poverty will continue to concern mainly the group of low-income countries and Sub-Saharan Africa, while the decline will occur mainly in South Asian countries (from 300 million in 2020 to 200 million in 2030), but most undernourished people will still live in countries with average incomes. In the rest of the world, the number of people in poverty remains relatively low and is expected to be stable until 2030.
“The above projections indicate that economic growth, although fundamental, is in itself an insufficient factor in achieving the poverty-related sustainable development goals. For these actions to be effective, economic growth should be not only stable, but also sustainable and inclusive,” PIE analysts note.
The countries and regions most affected by poverty, in addition to internal problems, also suffer from the consequences of crises in other regions of the world, including an increase in interest rates on debt and a possible reduction in Official Development Assistance due to increased military spending. Without appropriate actions, the current decade may turn out to be a waste in terms of reducing global poverty.