The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have projected that the number of extremely poor in the East Asia and the Pacific region could drop to 2.5 million in less than two decades.
In its Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2014/2015, titled “Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity,” extreme poverty in East Asia and the Pacific could decline to 0.11 percent of the population by 2030.
The World Bank and IMF estimate that the number of extremely poor in East and the Asia-Pacific region will decline to 31.3 million, or to 1.5 percent, of the population by 2020 from 86.4 million, or 4.1 percent, of the population in 2015.
“The world has made great progress in the last quarter-century in reducing extreme poverty—it was cut by a stunning two-thirds—and now we have the opportunity to end poverty in less than a generation,” World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim said.
“But we will not finish the job unless we find ways to reduce inequality, which stubbornly persists all over the world. This vision of a more equal world means we must find ways to spread wealth to the billions who have almost nothing,” Kim added.
In 2011 around 160.8 million are living in extreme poverty in East Asia and the Pacific. This accounts for 7.9 percent of the population of the region.
Extreme poverty, as defined in the report, covers those living below $1.25 a day, or less than P53 daily (at an exchange rate of P43 to a dollar).
“If it is shocking to have a poverty line as low as $1.25 per day, it is even more shocking that 1/7th of the world’s population lives below this line,” World Bank Group Senior Vice President and chief economist Kaushik Basu said.
“The levels of inequality and poverty that prevail in the world today are totally unacceptable. This year’s GMR, which brings together in one volume a statistical picture of where the world stands in terms of these goals, is essential fodder for anyone wishing to take on these major challenges of our time,” he added.
The report also detailed the WBG’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity, measured as income growth of the bottom 40 percent. The World Bank said this will be attained by giving special attention to the living standards of the poorer segments of the population.
These, the bank said, should be pursued alongside efforts to secure the future of the planet in order to ensure that the world’s prosperity does not cost the future of the next generation. “While the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] are focused on the developing world, the WBG’s goal of shared prosperity is universal and signals a shift toward the post-2015 development goals. Shared prosperity is as much a concern in high-income countries as in developing economies,” the report stated.
Forecasts in the report show that poverty will remain stubbornly high in the South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa regions, where an estimated 377 million of the world’s 412 million poor will likely reside in 2030.
In 2011 the two regions were home to 814 million of the world’s 1 billion poor.
GMR 2014/2015 continues to monitor progress on the MDGs, which inspired the WBG twin goals.