The world is making progress in its efforts to lift people out of extreme poverty, but the global aspiration of eliminating such poverty by 2030 is unattainable, a new report found.
A World Bank report released Wednesday says the number of people living on less than $1.90 per day fell to a record low of 736 million, or 10 percent of the world’s population, in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.
The figure was less than the 11 percent recorded in 2013, showing slow but steady progress.
“Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.
“But if we are going to end poverty by 2030, we need much more investment, particularly in building human capital, to help promote the inclusive growth it will take to reach the remaining poor,” he warned. “For their sake, we cannot fail.”
Poverty levels dropped across the world, except in the Middle East and North Africa, where civil wars spiked the extreme poverty rate from 9.5 million people in 2013 to 18.6 million in 2015.
The highest concentration of extreme poverty remained in sub-Saharan Africa, with 41.1 percent, down from 42.5 percent. South Asia showed the greatest progress with poverty levels dropping to 12.4 percent from 16.2 percent two years earlier.
The World Bank’s preliminary forecast is that extreme poverty has declined to 8.6 percent in 2018.
About half the nations now have extreme poverty rates of less than 3 percent, which is the target set for 2030. But the report said that goal is unlikely to be met.