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Global extreme poverty fell to 21 percent in 2011, less than half of the poverty rate in 1990, the World Bank (WB) reports.
The World Bank said the drop in the percentage of people living in poverty means that the World has met the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to significantly reduce hunger and poverty. Eight goals, centered on improving people’s lives, were set by world leaders at the United Nations in 2000 with a target date of 2015.
The achievement was cited in the Bank’s 2013 World Development Indicators (WDI) report, released April 18 at the start of the annual World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring meetings in Washington. The report includes the latest data available. Extreme poverty is defined as living on USD 1.25 or less a day.
The world also made progress toward other goals, the Bank said. Girls’ primary school enrollment jumped from 86 percent of boys’ enrollment in 1990 to 97 percent in 2011. Girls’ secondary school enrollment also went up — from 78 percent of boys’ enrollment in 1990 to 96 percent in 2011, the World Bank said.
The mortality rate for children, age 5 and younger, fell from an average of 95 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 56 in 2011. In all, 41 countries are set to reach the child mortality reduction goal by 2015 and many other countries are stepping up progress, the Bank said.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partners with the World Bank on an array of international development projects aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a commitment to end extreme poverty in the next two decades.
The economies of many developing countries continue to grow faster than advanced economies, the Bank said. Notably, India became the world’s third-largest economy in 2011 behind the United States and China, with Japan, Germany, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Italy filling out the top 10.
Mongolia grew at the second-fastest rate, at nearly 16 percent in 2011, while the Macau administrative region of China had the highest growth rate, at 18 percent. They were followed by Lithuania, Latvia, Turkmenistan, Ghana, Qatar, Panama, China and Estonia, the Bank reported.
(Walta Information Center)