Half of world’s population cannot meet basic needs

Thursday October 18 2018

Poverty levels have been high in Africa despite

Poverty levels have been high in Africa despite continued improvement, according to the World Bank report. FILE PHOTO 

By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH

A new World Bank report has revealed a worrisome image that almost half the world’s population of 7.7 billion people live on less than $5.50 (Shs20,735) a day despite decline in extreme poverty.
Sub-Saharan Africa, the report, which was released yesterday, indicates is the most affected.

Economic advances around the world, according to the report, mean that while fewer people live in extreme poverty, almost half the world’s population - 3.4 billion people - still struggle to meet basic needs.
Specific to sub-Saharan Africa, the report says, a third of the countries in the region experienced negative income growth for the bottom 40 per cent of their populations.

“The region with the largest number of extreme poor, Africa saw its population nearly double between 1990 and 2015, with one of the largest increases in population being for those living on less than $3.20 (Shs12,064) and more than $1.90 (Shs7,163),” the report reads in part.
Additionally, poor countries, the report says, continue to suffer multiple deprivations such as low consumption levels and lack of access to education and basic infrastructure.

The unevenness of the progress in global poverty reduction, the report says, brings into focus the relative strengths and weaknesses in how progress toward the goal of a world free of poverty is monitored.
Last year, Uganda Bureau of Statistic (Ubos) put Uganda’s population at 37.7 million with 21.4 of the total population living below the poverty line.

The report indicates that living on less than $3.20 per day reflects poverty lines in lower-middle-income countries, while $5.50 a day reflects standards in upper-middle-income countries.
Last month World Bank warned that the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty fell to 10 per cent in 2015, but the pace of extreme poverty reduction has slowed.

However, the bank reiterated its commitment to achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty, which it defines as living on less than $1.90 a day, by 2030.
Mr Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group president, said ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity are immediate goals that shall be focused on.
“Poverty is widespread and entrenched, underlining the importance of investing in people,” he said.

Marked improvements

The report shows that over 1.9 billion people, or 26.2 per cent of the world’s population, were living on less than $3.20 (Shs12,064) per day in 2015. Close to 46 per cent of the world’s population was living on less than $5.50 (Shs20,735) a day.
However, the report finds that the incomes of the poorest 40 per cent grew in 70 of the 91 economies that were monitored.

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