Ending poverty by 2030


Ethiopia, often seen as a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) champion, almost halved its poverty rate from 61 percent to 31 percent in the period between 1995 and 2011. While this took 8.6 million people out of extreme poverty, population growth meant that around 26 million people still live on USD 1.25 a day, according to the Investment to End Poverty report released by Development Initiatives, a non-profit organization.
The report of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has crystallized an emerging consensus that the number of poor people could almost reach zero by 2030. This is supported by scenarios based on rapid economic growth and ensuring that poor people benefit from that growth, which will take resources, and effective governance of those resources.
Some studies have interpreted ‘ending poverty’ as reaching low poverty rates. But ending poverty must be about getting to zero, so that no one anywhere, is living below the basic poverty line and all are prevented from falling back below that line. To get to zero, it is necessary to focus, not on rates, but on the absolute numbers of people in poverty, it states.
The report offers several insights and recommendations on how to make the eradication of poverty by 2030 possible. It states that ending poverty is not only about income but also ensuring that everyone has adequate nutrition, basic health, education and housing, as well as the information and freedom from discrimination that enable them to take part in the society. Economic growth alone will not get the world to zero extreme poverty in time; although it will play a critical role in reducing poverty states the report.
For this, targeted interventions are needed. All investment, domestic or international, can contribute to ending poverty. Government spending should also be looked at, it suggests. In developing countries, government spending has reached USD 5.9 trillion a year. More than half of all developing countries have seen government grow at an average of over 5 percent a year between 2000 and 2011.
The scale of resources received by developing countries has more than doubled since 2000, reaching an estimated USD 2.1 trillion in 2011. On the other hand, out of the USD 472 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into developing countries, USD 420 billion flows out as repatriated profit.
The report suggests that low government spending and poverty go together. More than 100 million people live in countries where government spending is less than USD 200 per year per person. In these countries, more than half the populations live on the ‘less than a dollar a day’ poverty line.
Harnessing resources in order to reduce poverty would be easier when it is known accurately who provides them, who controls them and where, and on what, they are spent. The type of aid affects the impact it delivers. For example, a dollar spent on food aid will have markedly different economic effects from a dollar spent on debt relief or on a consultant based in a ministry. Getting the most value for poverty reduction from every dollar requires deploying different aid instruments for different contexts.
Regarding Ethiopia, it says the country is the second largest recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in health, agriculture and food security. Humanitarian assistance, aid to agriculture and food security is provided mostly as commodities and food aid.
Infrastructure, the third largest sector, receives mostly loans and equity. The US is the largest donor of aid to health and humanitarian assistance, while the UK is the largest donor to four sectors, including education, agriculture and food security.
The report identifies statistics as an area that needs improvement. It says current estimates of poverty are unreliable and out of date. Global poverty estimates draw on five data sources, including household surveys. The collection methods for surveys and the use of different data sources can change the estimates of people in poverty by hundreds of millions.  
It recommends that traditional statistical approaches be improved. They can be improved by harmonizing survey designs and publishing provisional real-time poverty estimates. Better statistics can be used to improve information for decision making and accountability.
In conclusion, the report says that with the more optimistic scenario, which is faster growth more equally distributed, some 1.1 billion people could be lifted out of extreme poverty between 2010 and 2030, leaving around 100 million behind. By contrast, the pessimistic scenario, slower growth more unequally distributed, leaves more than 1 billion behind, with fewer than 200 million lifted from extreme poverty.
To reduce the number of people in extreme poverty to zero by 2030, poor people must be targeted at every level, globally, regionally, nationally and sub-nationally, to ensure that every person enjoys this minimum living standard, it says. And unless this effort is sustained, with no one allowed to fall below the minimum standard beyond 2030, extreme poverty will not have been genuinely ended.