920 mln people to remain in extreme poverty by 2015: WB-IMF report

13:01, April 24, 2010      

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The global economic crisis has slowed the pace of poverty reduction in developing countries, and some 920 million people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015, a new report says.

The report released jointly by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund said the crisis is having an impact in several key areas of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Those areas, among others, include the goals related to hunger, child and maternal health, gender equality, access to clean water, and disease control.

The crisis will continue to affect long-term development prospects well beyond 2015, according to the report titled "Global Monitoring Report 2010: The MDGs after the Crisis."

As a result of the crisis, 53 million more people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have, the report said.

Meanwhile, the report projects that the number of extreme poor could total around 920 million five years from now, marking a significant decline from the 1.8 billion people living in extreme poverty in 1990.

Based on the estimates, the developing world as a whole is still on track to achieve the first MDG of halving extreme income poverty from its 1990 level of 42 percent by 2015.

Both the 2008 food price crisis and the financial crisis that hit that year have played a role in exacerbating hunger in the developing world.

The critical MDG target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger from 1990 to 2015 appears very unlikely to be met as over a billion people struggle to meet basic food needs, the report says.

Malnutrition among children and pregnant women has a multiplier effect, accounting for more than one-third of the disease burden of children under age five and over 20 percent of maternal mortality.

According to World Bank projections, for the period from 2009 to the end of 2015, an estimated 1.2 million additional deaths may occur among children under five due to crisis-related causes.

Yet these effects might have been much more serious without sound pre-crisis policy reforms by developing countries, as well as strong actions by countries and by international financial 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, according to the report.

Source: Xinhua


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