World Bank sets new poverty line

World Bank has set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day to reflect improvements in poverty decline in Sub-Saharan Africa.

World Bank has set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day to reflect improvements in poverty decline in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to a new World Bank paper, Poverty rates in Sub-Saharan Africa have been Steadily declining over the last 10 years, which reflects improvements in internationally comparable price data.

Improvements in the depth of poverty on the Continent  are  also encouraging, with Africa registering an overall improvement of more than 15 percent since 1990, from 24.6 percent to 20.8 percent.

The report estimates that 1.4 billion people in the developing world lived below that threshold. Indicating that Africa’s poverty rate of 50 percent is shown to be the same in 1981 and 2005: this is because poverty worsened between 1981 and 1996, a period of slow or negative growth on the continent.

The paper, produced by the Development Research Group titled ‘the developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty’, it cites   doubling in the number of poor people in Africa between 1981 and 2005, from 200 to 380 million.

“The report which tells a global story about the numbers of poor people should not be used to judge if poverty in a particular country or region has improved or deteriorated over the 1981-2005 period. What is more important is to look at national poverty lines, says Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist of the Africa Region at the World Bank.

Devarajan says that the move will answer the question of how poverty in a particular country has changed over time. According to Mr. Devarajan, Economic growth is the strongest antidote to poverty in Africa.

If Africa can sustain its recent better-than-six-percent growth rates, the continent will make significant progress in reducing the number of poor within its borders.

Strengthening governance is critical to achieving growth, pointing out Botswana and Ethiopia as countries which have made rapid progress in this regard.  

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