How to Strengthen Anti-Poverty Efforts
Even before the pandemic reversed progress in reducing extreme poverty, policies and programs largely failed to meet the needs of the poorest and most marginalized. Unless that failure is corrected, the most severe forms of poverty will remain entrenched long after the COVID-19 crisis ends.
DHAKA – From 1990 to 2019, the number of people living in extreme poverty (according to the World Bank threshold of $1.90 per day) plummeted, from 1.9 billion to 648 million. COVID-19 has reversed much of this progress. By the end of 2021, the pandemic will have pushed approximately 150 million people back into extreme poverty.
Even before COVID-19, however, the world was not on track to end extreme poverty in the next decade. Progress on poverty reduction had been slowing long before the pandemic hit, with global poverty rates falling by less than half a percentage point per year between 2015 and 2019. At that pace, even without COVID-19, 537 million people would have still been living in extreme poverty in 2030, implying failure to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 1.
At BRAC, the world’s largest Global South-led NGO, decades of designing, implementing, advising on, and adapting poverty reduction interventions have given us insights into how to make anti-poverty programs and policies more effective.