A non-governmental organisation in Vienna, World Poverty Clock, funded by the German government and led by Homi Kharas, deputy director of the Brookings Institution in the US, and Wolfgang Fengler, a World Bank lead economist, is predicting that Nigeria will overtake India as the country with one of the world’s poorest people.
A Financial Times’ report below revealed that an estimated 47m people, almost equivalent to the population of Colombia, are likely to escape extreme poverty this year. But that will not be enough to get anywhere near the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of ending extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.90 a day at 2011 purchasing power parity prices — by 2030.
By 2030, there will be 200m fewer people living in extreme poverty than there are today. However, 438m, or 5 per cent of the world’s population, will still be below the extreme poverty line. This year, for example, the extreme poverty level is rising in 30 countries; in these nations a total of 9m more people will be living in extreme poverty at the end of 2017 than 12 months previously.
“Very few countries in Africa are making fast enough progress on ending poverty, and in two large countries, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, their populations are growing faster than their economic growth, so poverty will likely continue to rise,” Mr Kharas said. “We need a dramatic break from current trends in over 30 countries in order to end poverty worldwide.”
Nigeria’s population in extreme poverty is rising by 5.7 people per minute and that in DRC by 3.6 people per minute. The rest of Africa is reducing poverty by 4.7 people per minute. The situation in Nigeria is such that in February next year it will overtake India as having the most people living in extreme poverty in the world, at 82m, the clock predicts.
The forecasts are compiled from hundreds of data sets, including figures from national governments, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Mr Kharas said it was important to address the challenge, “not in global terms, and instead to look at it country-by-country”.
“We may be able to accept that small pockets of poverty remain in some countries — in fact some poverty is present even in the richest countries — but we want to avoid any individual countries, even ones with small populations, being in deep poverty,” he said.
The UN’s SDG is unlikely to be met because, globally, the rate of poverty reduction is slowing — largely on account of Asia getting close to ending extreme poverty. Meanwhile, many parts of Africa are making insufficient progress, the clock reveals.
The extreme poverty rate in Africa will drop from 34 per cent this year to 23 per cent in 2030, the clock predicts. But the absolute number is likely to be only slightly lower than what it is now because of population growth.