News / Africa

One Billion at Risk of Extreme Poverty

New report warns of a billion people at risk of extreme poverty by 2030. (Credit: ODI / CPAN)
New report warns of a billion people at risk of extreme poverty by 2030. (Credit: ODI / CPAN)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Climbing out of extreme poverty -- and staying there – can be very difficult. A new report warns up to one billion people are at risk of extreme poverty by 2030 unless more is done to support them in hard times.

Unemployment, poor health, high food prices, conflict and natural disasters – these are some of the things that can drive people below the poverty line of $1.25 a day.


The Overseas Development Institute and the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network have released the Third Chronic Poverty Report.  Network Director Andrew Shepard -- the lead author -- warns of poverty’s “revolving door.”

“People fall into poverty as well as escape it. And once they’ve escaped it they can fall back in again.”

He said there are three legs of poverty that must be addressed.

“You can be poor the whole of your life, chronically poor. And policies, generally speaking, don’t deal very well with that. You can become poor. You can be impoverished. Policies are beginning to address that a little bit better than they did 10 years ago, but there’s still a long way to go on that, especially in Africa, and actually also in Asia. And then once you escape poverty, you need to keep on in an upward trajectory. You need to keep on moving away from poverty because you can easily fall back in again,” he said.

It’s estimated there were 1.2 billion people in extreme poverty in 2010. That’s a decline of 700 million since 1990. Shepard says that’s good news, but the trend may not continue.

“People who are chronically poor, they’re poor over their lifetimes for reasons and those reasons can be quite hard to tackle. For example, they might be discriminated against. And some countries now have good policies against discrimination, buy many countries don’t yet or they don’t implement them.”

Shepard said that the most frequent cause for falling back below the poverty line is ill health.

The report recommended three approaches to – what it calls -- zero poverty.

“The first of these is providing some sort of cash relief, if you like -- cash transfers or an employment guarantee. Something which provides a safety net. The second thing is a massive investment in education because education works to help people out of poverty – to keep them going in the right direction. And education, of course, works to sustain peoples’ escapes out of poverty provided that you can get them up to a high enough level,” he said.

Primary and secondary education levels are a must, he said.

The third step to reduce poverty is called “pro poorest economic growth.”

Shepard said, “You need jobs, of course. And those jobs can be agricultural, non-agricultural, but jobs also need to be decent. They need to pay some kind of minimum wage. That can be underpinned by an employment guarantee. And you need health and safety provisions.”

The report called on all countries to have universal health coverage and good disaster risk management to deal with the weather extremes of climate change.

It also said international aid “will continue to be extremely important in low-income countries.” However, it adds, “few donors have displayed real interest in tackling chronic poverty.”

“The report does an analysis, which shows that there are about 44 countries which spend a total of less than $500 per person per year. That’s on everything. And the report also indicates that quite a few of those countries – I think it was 19 – won’t be doing very much better by 2030,” he said.

Shepard said countries also can find more money to help tackle poverty by doing a better job of collecting taxes.

He said some of the success stories in reducing poverty in recent years include China, Vietnam, Brazil, Ethiopia, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The issue of chronic poverty is expected to be addressed as the international community decides how to replace the Millennium Development Goals. They come due next year. 

Last October, the World Bank reported the number of people living in extreme poverty had declined sharply in the past three decades. But it warned about 400-million children continue to live in “abysmal conditions.” 

Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the goal of ending poverty -- and boosting shared prosperity -- can be achieved, but only if nations “work together with new urgency.”  Those efforts, he said, must include education and health care for children.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More