The Very Poor Miss Out

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Dismal news from the authoritative International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Their World’s Most Deprived report finds that poverty reduction has been slower for people living on less than 50 cents per day—most of them in Africa. This is despite progress overall in the developing world in reducing poverty and hunger (especially in China, but also parts of South Asia, reflecting strong growth).

Those living on less than 50 cents per day go by various names; IFPRI calls them the ‘ultra poor’. We prefer the term ‘chronically poor’, which in CPRC usage captures the time dimension; if you are chronically poor then it is highly likely that this will be your fate for your entire (short) life span. And your children (and their children) are likely to be chronically poor as well.

The IFPRI report says that 162 million people could be classified as ultra poor and if they were concentrated in a single country they would make up the seventh most populous nation after China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to three-quarters of the world’s people living on less than 50 cents per day. Dismal news indeed.

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