Global poverty is still a priority

March 19th, 2009 - 4:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, March 19 (ANI): Economists have said that there is a strong need to address the issues surrounding global poverty as a priority.

The statement has been made as part of the Economic and Social Research Councils (ESRC) Global Financial Crisis lecture series, the second of three seminars looking at various aspects of the recession will focus on Recession and Global Poverty.

Figures indicate that of the six billion people sharing our planet, almost half live under the poverty line of US 2 dollars per day.

Though growth predictions vary it is likely that, by 2020, the population will increase by approximately another 1.2 billion, of which some 95 percent will live in developing countries.

According to Dr Peter Boone, of the ESRCs Centre for Economic Performance, Subsistence living and lack of accumulated wealth mean many of the extremely poor are well-insulated from the current crisis.

However, the problems are in the future: reduced public finances, less global growth, less foreign aid, and possibly more civil wars, will mean the extremely poor do not get the health services, education and opportunities needed to pull themselves and their children out of poverty, he said.

This doesnt have to be the case: despite all these problems, we have the knowledge and capacity to make large inroads towards ending extreme poverty, he added.

Dr Boone will outline steps that the international community can take to ensure that the impact of the crisis can be lessened for the most vulnerable.

Professor of Economics, Tony Venables, of the University of Oxford, will discuss the impacts of the recession on developing countries, focusing his presentation on Africa.

Africa has had strong economic growth for nearly a decade, but the latest forecasts have growth in 2009-10 dropping to around 3 percent, barely more than population increase.

As a consequence, tens of millions more people will remain in poverty and attainment of the MDGs made less likely.

Different economies are affected through quite different transmission mechanisms; drying up of capital flows; reduced export prospects; lower remittances; and lower commodity prices which affect some economies positively and others negatively, explained Professor Venables.

The key question for the future is whether the recession is a one-off reduction in income and increase in poverty, or whether it will also reduce Africas growth prospects over coming decades, returning it the stagnation of the 1980s and 90s, he added. (ANI)

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