For the first time less than 10% of the world’s population will be living in extreme poverty by the end of 2015, the World Bank has said.
The World Bank said it was using a new income figure of $1.90 per day to define extreme poverty, up from $1.25.
The bank forecasts the proportion of the world’s population in this category to fall from 12.8% in 2012 to 9.6%.
However, it said the “growing concentration of global poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is of great concern”.
Photo Getty Images
Although the share of people in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to fall from 42.6% in 2012 to 35.2% by the end of 2015, this will still represent around half of the world’s poor.
“We are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.
The bank says the downward trend was due to strong growth rates in developing countries and investments in education, health, and social safety nets.
However, Jim Yong Kim warned that continuing the progress would be “extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment, and the growing impact of climate change”.
The World Bank warned that poverty is “becoming deeper and more entrenched in countries that are either conflict ridden or overly dependent on commodity exports”.
Prince William has met President Barack Obama at the White House as part of a three-day visit.
The talks were held in the Oval Office, in advance of delivering a speech to the World Bank on wildlife crime.
During the speech, Prince William described the illegal wildlife trade as “one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today”.
Meanwhile, Kate Middleton visited a New York children’s centre.
Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived in New York on Sunday night, with the prince travelling to Washington alone on Monday.
At the White House, Prince William joked with Barack Obama about the birth of Prince George, saying: “The excitement of the event and everything else was just chaos.”
He added that he expects a “busy year” in 2015, when Kate Middleton is due to give birth to the royal couple’s second child.
Barack Obama said the prince’s work to protect endangered wildlife was “very important”.
Later, in his speech at the World Bank, Prince William said: “In my view, one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today is the illegal wildlife trade.”
He attacked those who “loot our planet to feed mankind’s ignorant craving for exotic pets, trinkets, cures and ornaments derived from the world’s vanishing and irreplaceable species”.
Prince William founded the umbrella organization United for Wildlife to try to preserve the planet’s most endangered animals and habitats.
The Duke of Cambridge has been the royal patron of Tusk since 2005. The charity supports projects in 17 African countries, aimed at protecting wildlife and alleviating poverty.
Before starting at St Andrews University, Prince William went on a gap year, some of which was spent in Africa learning about its wildlife and game conservation.
Paying tribute to his father, Prince Charles, and his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, he said: “They helped to bring about a revolution in attitudes towards our natural environment.”
He added: “From them, I learned that our relation to nature and wildlife goes to the heart of our identity as human beings. From our sheer survival, to our appreciation of beauty and our connection to all other living things.
“Seen in this light, the extinction of any of the world’s species of animals is a loss to all humanity.”
Prince William said wildlife crime “goes to the heart of our security”, “distorts economic development” and “fuels sources of conflict”.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has made an emotional appeal for thousands of medical workers to volunteer and help contain the growing Ebola outbreak.
Jim Yong Kim said at least 5,000 medics and support staff are needed to beat the disease.
Many potential recruits were too scared to travel to West Africa, he added.
The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 10,000 people and killed nearly 5,000.
Jim Yong Kim was speaking during a visit to Ethiopia, where he accompanied UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon and African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“Right now, I’m very much worried about where we will find those health care workers,” he said.
“With the fear factor going out of control in so many places, I hope health care professionals will understand that when they took their oath to become a health care worker it was precisely for moments like this.”
Ban-ki Moon said that transmission rates in West Africa continued to outstrip the pace of the international response.
At least 5,000 medics and support staff are needed in West Africa to beat the Ebola disease (photo Reuters)
He added that imposing travel restrictions to affected countries would severely curtail efforts to beat the disease.
Meanwhile in the US, Dallas nurse Amber Vinson, who contracted Ebola on American soil, was due to be discharged from hospital on October 28 after being declared virus-free.
Amber Vinson was one of two nurses who cared for a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, in a Texas hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan, who had travelled to the US from West Africa, died on October 8.
The second nurse, Nina Pham, was declared virus-free last week.
On October 27, the CDC introduced new Ebola treatment guidelines.
The rules say that US medics returning from affected areas will be actively monitored but not placed in quarantine.
It came following criticism over the treatment of nurse Kaci Hickox was placed in isolation after returning from West Africa.
Kaci Hickox, who had no symptoms, said she was made to feel like a criminal when she arrived back in the US on October 24.
Responding to her quarantining, the UN Secretary General’s spokesman said Ebola health workers were “exceptional people” and “should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science”.
However, the new guidelines were immediately rejected by the governor of New Jersey.
In the US quarantine decisions are ultimately made at a state level.
Meanwhile in Mali, 82 people who had contact with a toddler who died from Ebola are now being monitored, according to Reuters.
Mali recently became the sixth West African nation to report an outbreak.
Officials are concerned that the disease, which has so far been largely restricted to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, may spread.
Since the boy died last week there have been no new reported cases.
There have been 4,922 deaths from the Ebola virus, according to the World Health Organization’s latest figures.
All but 27 of the cases have occurred inside Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The World Bank is to allocate $200 million in emergency assistance for West African countries battling to contain the Ebola outbreak.
The money will be distributed to the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as well as to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The number of people killed in the outbreak has reached 887, the WHO says.
The World Bank’s announcement came as African leaders including 35 presidents discuss the crisis in Washington.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim – an expert on infectious diseases – said that he was “deeply saddened” by the spread of the virus and how it was contributing to the breakdown of “already weak health systems in the three countries”.
“I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks,” he said.
The World Bank will allocate $200 million in emergency assistance for West African countries battling to contain the Ebola outbreak
In the short term, the money will be used to pay health workers, dispel rumors about the disease in local communities and address the immediate needs of getting sick people into health facilities.
Over the long term, the funds will be used to help countries deal with the economic impact of the outbreak and to monitor the spread of the disease.
The package is now awaiting approval by the World Bank’s Board of Directors, though officials say the confirmation could come as early as this week.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) say preliminary research suggests the epidemic is likely to shave one percentage point from Guinea’s economic output this year.
In other developments:
Nigeria has recorded its second Ebola case – one of the doctors who treated a man who died from the virus after his arrival from Liberia
Liberia has ordered that the bodies of people killed by the Ebola virus must be cremated following the refusal of some communities to allow the burial of victims on their land.
The Ebola virus spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids.
Touching the body of someone who has died of Ebola is particularly dangerous.
The evacuation of the second US health worker to become infected in Liberia, nurse Nancy Writebol, is expected later.
Nancy Writebol will be flown to Atlanta in the US to a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital, where Dr. Kent Brantly, who arrived from Liberia on Saturday, is being treated by infectious disease specialists.
Chinese economy’s growth forecast has been slightly cut by the World Bank, citing a “bumpy start to the year”.
The World Bank now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6% in 2014, down from its earlier projection of 7.7%.
A slew of disappointing figures has triggered concerns of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
However, the World Bank said recent reforms unveiled by China were likely to help it achieve “more sustainable and inclusive” growth in the long term.
The Chinese government set out an ambitious and comprehensive reform agenda in November last year, aimed at overhauling its economy over the next decade.
The World Bank now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6 percent in 2014, down from its earlier projection of 7.7 percent
These include reforming the financial and services sectors as well as the big state-owned enterprises.
“If implemented, the reforms will have a profound impact on China’s land, labor, and capital markets, and enhance the long-term sustainability of its economic growth,” the World Bank said in its latest report.
“Some reforms, including efforts to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens, reform taxation, and make more land available for commercial activities, are also likely to support growth in the short term.”
The World Bank also cut its growth outlook for Thailand.
It predicts that the Thai economy will expand by 3% this year, down from its earlier projection of 4.5% growth.
It said that “implementation delays and political uncertainties have been the major contributor” to the slowdown.
A series of anti-government protests in recent months have stoked fears of political uncertainty in the country and its impact on the Thai economy.
The bank added: “The expiry of the car tax rebate scheme, rising levels of household debt, falling commodity incomes, arrears in government subsidy payments to rice farmers, and crumbling consumer sentiment in the face of political instability all crimped consumption.”
The World Bank said it expected the developing East Asia Pacific region to grow by 7.1% in 2014, slightly lower than its earlier projection of 7.2%.
The World Bank has lowered its growth forecast for China citing weak demand for its exports and lower investment growth.
The bank said it expects China’s economy to grow by 7.7% this year, down from its projection of 8.2% in May.
China’s exports have been hurt by economic problems in the eurozone and the US, two of its biggest markets.
Meanwhile, policymakers have found it tough to boost domestic demand enough to offset the decline in foreign sales.
“China’s slowdown this year has been significant, and some fear it could still accelerate,” the bank said in its latest report.
After the global financial crisis in 2008 – 2009, China unveiled a slew of stimulus measures, including record lending by state-owned banks, to maintain a high rate of growth.
While the measures helped it sustain growth, they also resulted in a sharp increase in property prices in the country, raising fears about asset bubbles being formed.
Prompted by those fears, policymakers have been trying to curb lending in recent times.
While the moves have helped to keep property prices in check, there have been concerns that they may have hurt China’s growth.
However, the bank said that despite the recent slowdown in the economy, Beijing may be prompted to hold back on any big stimulus measures, not least because any such move may result in property prices rising again.
“Economic momentum is expected to be weak during the coming months with limited policy easing, a property market correction, and faltering external demands,” the bank said.
It added that the role of investment in China’s growth had also reduced over the past year, indicating that Beijing may be trying to rebalance its economy.
“In 2011, China’s consumption contributed more to gross domestic product [GDP] growth than investments, for the first time since records of GDP began in 1952,” it said.
“Some observers see this as the start of a trend in domestic rebalancing, and associate this with a more permanent growth slowdown in China.”
However, it said that the central government had accelerated approvals of its investment projects which could “support the recovery in investment and activity in the quarters to come”.
The bank also lowered its forecast for East Asia in the wake of a slowdown in exports from the region.
It said growth in East Asia, which includes countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines, will decline a full percentage point to 7.2% this year.
However, it added that strong domestic consumption in the region was likely to boost its economic recovery next year.
“Weaker demand for East Asia’s exports is slowing the regional economy,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank East Asia and Pacific Regional Vice President.
“But compared to other parts of the world, it’s still growing strongly, and thriving domestic demand will enable the region’s economy to bounce back to 7.6% [growth] next year.”
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