International Bent: Global Poverty

written by naehblog
September 17, 2009

Today, I thought I’d throw an international spin on the poverty + homelessness issues.

Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that the World Bank expects that “the global recession will push an additional 89 million people into ‘extreme poverty’ by the end of next year…”

(It’s important to note here that the World Bank defines ‘extreme poverty’ as those living on less that $1.25 a day. )

Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, noted that those most impacted by the global recession will likely be those who are already living on the economic fringes of society. According to Bloomberg: “The poor and most vulnerable are at greatest risk from economic shocks,” Zoellick said in a statement released today with the report. “The poorest countries may not be well represented on the G-20 but we cannot ignore the long-term costs of the global downturn on their people’s health and education.”

As such, Zoellick urged the leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) – slated to meet next week in Pittsburgh, PA – to keep strengthen their support of the world’s poorest countries, and maintain, if not increase, levels of financial investment in developing countries.

So far, that hasn’t been happening.

In March of this year, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn delivered an address to a Brookings panel suggesting that developing countries were beginning to feel the impacts of the global economic recession, mainly through depressed trade interests and decreasing investment from other countries, coupled with a rise in the cost of borrowing. Strauss-Kahn conveyed worries about the lasting effects of such economic distress, noting that it could delay global economic recovery, and spur political unrest and humanitarian concerns in developing countries.

And in June of this year, the British paper, The Guardian, reported on findings from the World Bank that suggest foreign investment into developing countries had halved in 2008.

And just yesterday, while also reporting on Zoellick’s remarks, Thomson Reuters, reported that 43 poor countries still mired in an economic downturn.

Just last week, we heard our own side of this story – increasing poverty rates, the highest in years. The World Bank reminds us that we are not alone in our plight, and that the world is evermore interdependent.

That was our brief adventure in to world economics.