World Bank sets ‘expiration date’ on poverty


The World Bank gathered the might of the international community Saturday behind its audacious plan to eradicate extreme poverty within a generation. “This is it. This is the global target to end poverty,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, visibly pleased after the International Monetary Fund and the Bank endorsed the poverty offensive. “For the first time in history, we have committed to setting a target to end poverty. We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty,” Kim said at a news conference. “We have set an expiration date for extreme poverty. With commitment, cooperation, and the vision of leaders from around the world, we have great faith that we can make it happen.” Kim, a US physician and global health activist who became head of the Bank last July, announced only two weeks ago the plan to eradicate extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.25 a day — to 3.0 percent or less of the world’s population by 2030. The plan also aims at raising the incomes of the poorest 40 percent in each country, so that prosperity is more fairly shared. “This will be hard work. The target of 2030 is closer than you think — just 17 years away,” Kim warned. To reach the 2030 goal, the international community must halve global poverty once, then halve it again, and then nearly halve it a third time, Kim has explained. According to World Bank data released this week, there are still 1.2 billion people, or one fifth of the world’s population, living in extreme poverty, despite significant strides in poverty reduction, in part due to China’s economic growth. Over 25 years, the rate of extreme poverty has fallen from 42 percent to 21 percent in 2010.