The World’s Best News Number One– 700 million poor people are missing!
Our view of the Developing World is conditioned by disaster, famine, disease, war and extreme poverty. All of these exist, for sure, but they also obscure the good news about real progress being facilitated by economic development, overseas development aid, fairer trade, and public investment. This is the first in an occasional series which will highlight the good news and positive development which is lifting millions of people out of poverty, ignorance and ill-health. The point we are trying to get across is that development works. All over the Global South, people are being empowered to develop themselves – they are better educated, have better access to basic services, are more in contact with world, better fed, healthier and with brighter prospects for a better future.
ElectricAid’s successful Special Appeals should not obscure the reality that we are primarily in the Development, rather than Disaster, business. We focus on the slower, messier business of helping people lift themselves up to a better future – and it is working: 700 million poor people have disappeared! Extreme poverty (defined as survival on less than US $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990 – from 47% to 22% of the world’s population. This means that there are now 700 million fewer people living in extreme poverty than there were in 1990. In 2000, the first Millennium Development Goal was to halve extreme poverty by 2015. This was achieved by 2012 – a remarkable result which has almost gone un-noticed. There are of course major issues still to deal with, and major concentrations of extreme poverty. One in eight of the world’s children will go to bed hungry tonight. Women are disproportionately affected (70%) by extreme poverty. The UN now aims for the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030 – an ambitious but achievable goal for the world community, North & South. We in the “First World” need to continue and focus our efforts – particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where ElectricAid concentrates about 70% of our funding.