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World Bank Sets Interim Poverty Target at 9% in 2020

Xinhua News Agency, October 17, 2013 Adjust font size:

Signalling greater urgency in efforts to end extreme poverty, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced on Wednesday that the World Bank has set an interim target to reduce global poverty to nine percent in 2020.

"Setting this target reminds us we are on the cusp of something historic, ridding the world of the scourge of people living in such abysmal conditions," Kim said on the eve of the opening of the 2013 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

World Bank economists say if developing countries continue their strong growth rates for the next seven years, the global poverty rate will dip below 10 percent for the first time since 1990, when the figures were first reported.

Since 1990, when 43 percent of people in developing countries lived in poverty, global poverty has been steadily declining. An estimated 1.9 billion people lived in poverty in 1990, while 20 years later, that number had fallen to 1.2 billion. Living in extreme poverty is defined as living on less than US$1.25 a day.

If the goal is achieved, the world will have 510 million fewer people living in poverty in 2020 than a decade earlier, but an estimated 690 million people would be still living in extreme poverty -- about half of the population of Africa.

However, Kim reiterated World Bank's ultimate goal of ending extreme poverty completely by 2030, encouraging "focus" on the issue.

"Ending extreme poverty is achievable in less than a generation's time," Kim said, adding, "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."

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