Washington DC - The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, said on Wednesday the World Bank had set an interim target to reduce global poverty to nine per cent in 2020.
Kim said this at a panel discussion on the topic: “From Poverty to Prosperity”, at the ongoing annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, in Washington DC.
He said if the target was achieved, it would be the first time the rate was reduced to a single digit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that economists in the World Bank are of the opinion that even if the nine per cent mark is achieved, an estimated 690 million people will still be living in extreme poverty of below 1.25 dollars a day.
According to them, the world will have 510 million fewer people living in poverty in 2020 compared to previous decades.
Kim said that the target reminded the institution that it was on the verge of making history.
“Setting this target reminds us that we are on the cusp of something historic: ridding the world of the scourge of people living in such abysmal condition.”
“It also means that all of us, developing country leaders and our partners, including the World Bank Group, need to up our game now in order to bring an end to extreme poverty.”
“We need to help developing countries accelerate growth, attract private investment and create good jobs,” he said
Kim said that in April, the Governors of the World Bank Group endorsed two goals for the organisation.
He said they were to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity of the bottom 40 per cent of the population in all developing countries.
According to him, this week, the Governors will consider a World Bank Group strategy that will, for the first time, unite all parts of the institution.
He said it would enable them to work with governments, International Finance Corporations (IFCs), the private sector arm and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agencies (MIGA) which issued political risk insurance, to meet the goal.
Kim cited a research by the World Bank Group which showed that if developing countries maintained the existing growth rates for the next two decades, global poverty would be reduced to eight per cent by 2030.
He said, “Ending extreme poverty is achievable in less than a generation’s time.”
“But we need strong growth, committed political leaders and a growing social movement that keeps pushing all of us to focus like a laser beam on the result all of us want.”
Kaushik Basu, World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President, said that the bank, in its efforts, must be mindful of and consider the poorest of the poor in every step.
“We must be constantly mindful of the people on earth who are barely surviving, reminding ourselves of Gandhi's famous observation that we must consider the poorest and weakest in every step we take.”
“I think these targets can help hold us to the task,” Basu said.