India, China lift 232m people out of poverty

Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam also among the lead contributors to reducing global poverty

The world’s most populous countries India and China contributed the most to slashing global poverty – for people living on less than $1.25 per day – from 2008 to 2011, according to the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2014, lifting a combined 232 million people out of poverty.

India is home to 30 per cent of the world’s extremely poor, followed by Nigeria and then China, with 10 and 8 per cent respectively, the report said. Alongside India and China. Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam were among the five leading contributors to global poverty reduction.

In April 2013, the World Bank adopted the goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 per cent in developing countries. Overall, poverty globally has dropped significantly with 1 billion people – or 14.5 per cent of the world’s population – living in what could be classified as extreme poverty in 2011, down from 1.25 billion in 2008.

The World Bank noted its target of reducing poverty to single digits by 2020 appeared to be achievable, however, hitting three per cent by 2030 would not be possible without significant efforts from all countries. Reducing global poverty to about three per cent of the world’s population by 2030 would require annual per capita consumption growth of four per cent in every country around the world, combined with no change in income distribution in each country, the World Bank said, citing one possible scenario.

Even with this, poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa would still hover over 19 per cent by 2030, making up nearly 80 per cent of the world’s poor that year. There will also be countries suffering poverty rates above 30 per cent in 2030, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, and Zambia.

In 58 out of 86 countries tracked by GMR, incomes among the poorest 40 per cent grew faster than the overall population between 2006 and 2011. However, in 18 countries, incomes among the poorest 40 per cent dropped.

“Moreover, while gaps in living standards have narrowed in many countries, the wellbeing of low-income households—as measured by access to education and health services—remains below that of households in the wealthier 60 percent,” the report said. “Children in the poorest households are one and a half times as likely to be malnourished than those in the top 60 percent.”

Achieving the 2030 goals will face challenges, with the recent and unprecedented Ebola epidemic in Africa, the conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, climate change and weather-related calamities, and chronic unemployment – particularly among youth, it added.