Tue, Oct 04, 2016 - Page 10 News List

Fewer people living below poverty line: World Bank

TARGET:Income inequality is preventing international goals on poverty being reached, with the wealth gap widening over the past 25 years, the bank said

Thomson Reuters Foundation, 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 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,” World Bank president Jim Yong Kim 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 UN 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.

However, meeting that target also means 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,” World Bank Development Research Group senior adviser Francisco Ferreira said.

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 percent of the world’s population.

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