Rich man, poor man
Many countries have to deal with income inequality as the gap between rich and poor grows even wider by the year – this despite the fact that a recently released World Bank report notes that 1.9 billion people could no longer be classified as “poor”.
The report notes that the last 25 years (1990-2015), more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history at 10 per cent.
But economists point out that the standard for “poor” and “rich” does not apply to every country due to social structure and inequality. Even if the number of “poor” drops, income inequality will affect low income earners as they struggle to live.
An economist who contributed to the report on the declining global poverty population admits that unfavourable economic growth, global economic slowdown, and internal political conflicts are obstacles.
The sustainable development goals of the United Nations (UN) indicated that poverty will be reduced by 2030, but a report released in July predicted that about 6 per cent of the population will still considered poor by international standards when reaching to the said deadline.
Back in 2015, about half those defined as living in extreme poverty could be found in 5 countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Bangladesh respectively. Most recent information indicates that Nigeria is going to overtake or has already surpassed India as the poorest country in the world, with almost 100 million poor.
By 2030, although many countries in Africa will issue various measures to fight poverty, nearly 9 out of 10 people will still earn $ 1.90 a day or less especially in the sub-Saharan region.
Handing out money or the implementation of populist policies does not help to solve the problem. For example, in the case of Brazil, projects to give money away to the poor did help reduce poverty levels by 21.6 per cent in 1990 to 2.8 per cent in 2014. However, the rate has increased to 4.8 per cent in 2017.
Only if leaders seriously address inequality can this problem be solved, the report noted.