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    World poverty decline threatened by inequalities

    Abject poverty has declined globally. However its eradication is threatened by accentuating economic inequalities. This is confirmed in a World Bank (WB) report published on yesterday (Sunday).

    A total of 767 million people were still living on less than US$1.90 per day in 2013, of which nearly half of them lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is according to the most recent data published in the report.

    The Bank is very pleased that over a year this figure is showing a decline of 12% in abject poverty globally, thereby benefitting around one hundred million individuals, despite the slowdown in growth.

    “Abject poverty continues to ebb despite the apparently lethargic global economy,” indicates its report published before the Annual Meeting of the IMF-World Bank in Washington D.C.

    The decline is even more marked over the long term. The most deprived populations thus saw their numbers reduced by more than half compared to the two billion recorded in 1990.

    “The number of individuals deprived of a reasonable income remains nevertheless significant,” the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, quoted in a communiqué.

    The World Bank, which is striving to eradicate abject poverty by 2030, warns that this objective will not be reached without significantly effecting economic inequalities.

    “The message is clear: we will only succeed in this by ensuring that growth benefits the poorest individuals,” Mr Kim detailed.

    Kim went on, “To do that, it must absolutely focus upon the deep inequalities, especially in countries where the largest number of poor are concentrated.”

    Between 2008 and 2013, the income of the richest 60% thus increased quicker than those of the poorest 40%, in nearly half of the 84 countries covered in the report.

    So as to reduce inequalities, the WB in particular called upon those countries most affected to invest in early childhood, to guarantee universal medical cover and implement cash payments to those most in need.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times