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Sub-Saharan Africa unlikely to halve poverty by 2015

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Sub-Saharan Africa unlikely to halve poverty by 2015

23rd April 2010

By: Creamer Media Reporter

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While the developing world as a whole was still on track to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving extreme income poverty from its 1990 level of 42% by 2015, sub-Saharan African countries would likely fall short of reaching this goal, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revealed in a new report.

The ‘Global Monitoring Report 2010: The MDGs after the Crisis’, which was released on Friday, highlighted that 53-million more people would remain in extreme poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have, as a result of the global economic crisis.

Nevertheless, the number of the extremely poor could total about 920-million by 2015, which would be a significant improvement on the 1,8-billion people who had lived in extreme poverty in 1990.

“The financial crisis was a severe external shock that hit poor countries hard. Its effects could have been far worse were it not for better policies and institutions in developing countries over the past 15 years,” said IMF deputy MD Murilo Portugal.

The World Bank and the IMF stated that about 38% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population would remain poor by 2015.

This would leave the region nine percentage points below its MDG target.

Despite extreme poverty having dropped from 58% in 1990 to 51% in 2005, the number of poor people in the region rose to 388-million, up from 296-million before.

The researchers noted that, before the crisis, the region had been set to reach a poverty rate of 35,9%, which would have lifted a further 20-million people out of poverty by 2015.

Other regions, such as East Asia had, meanwhile, been achieving better results.

East Asia saw extreme poverty plummet from 55% in 1990 to 17% in 2005 and this would likely improve to only 6% by 2015.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and the IMF said that it was unlikely that many of the other key MDGs, such as those related to hunger, child and maternal health, gender equality, access to clean water, and disease control would be achieved.

The researchers highlighted that it was “very unlikely” that the critical MDG target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015 would be met, as more than one-billion people struggled to meet their basic food needs.

However, the bank and the IMF pointed out that the effects of the crisis could have been much more serious, had it not been for the “sound” precrisis policy reforms implemented by developing countries, as well as the actions taken by countries and international finance institutions to counter the effects of the crisis.

“Government spending on social safety nets appears to have remained relatively steady, at least through 2009 and massive efforts by the international community to limit economic contraction and contagion have paid off,” the report stated.

The IMF was projecting the domestic production growth in developing countries to accelerate to an estimated 6,3% in 2010, up from 2,4% in 2009. Global output was also expected to increase to 4,2% in 2010.

Nevertheless, the World Bank and the IMF warned that the recovery remained fragile, which meant that there would be implications for reaching the MDGs.

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