“The fact is that this generation … we’re the first generation that can look at poverty and disease, look across the ocean to Africa and say with a straight face,‘We can be the first to end this sort of stupid extreme poverty, where in the world of plenty, a child can die for lack of food in its belly.’” – Bono
Bono is right. We do have the ability–and the resources–to eradicate extreme poverty. The question is, “Do we have the will to do it?”
The good news is there is hope on the horizon. The World Bank reports that for the first time since they’ve been collecting such numbers, “the data indicate a decline in both the poverty rate and the number of poor in all six regions of the developing world.”
But the challenge is still great. How great? Consider these numbers:
- The overall percentage of the population of the developing world living below $1.25 a day in 2008 was 22%. 52% lived below $1.25 in 1981.
- 14% of the population of the developing world lived below $1 a day in 2008; 42% in 1981.
- 43% of the global population lived below $2 a day in 2008 (2.47 billion); 70% in 1981.
- 47% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lived below $1.25 a day in 2008.
- At the current rate of progress there will still be around one billion people living below $1.25 per day in 2015.