The World Bank’s 2019 annual report summarizes the continued struggle with its mission on ending extreme poverty while remaining optimistic and diligent in a few key areas. Their mission is “to advance shared prosperity and end extreme poverty” and they plan to do this by 2030. This global organization and its many sub-organizations and projects operate in regions around the world.
After WW2, the UN established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) aimed to stabilize exchange rates, rebuild countries devasted by war, and promote economic development in poor countries. 75 years later, the World Bank has led the fight on ending poverty in part by driving growth in poor and war-torn regions of the world.
As of 2015, 735 bn people live in extreme poverty, down from 1.1 bn in 1990. “...10 percent of the world’s population lived on less than $1.90 a day, compared to 11 percent in 2013. That’s down from nearly 36 percent in 1990.” - World Bank ^1
The World Bank distributed $62 bn last year and is committed to $200 bn more over the next 5 years, targeting climate change and migration mitigation due to war. $15 bn was committed to Africa, targeting women human capital and mortality, climate change as it relates to food security, and digital infrastructure in that every person will have digital access by 2030.
Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, VP of equitable growth at the World Bank, is convinced that banking inclusion is the path to prosperity for the poor. In 2017, there were 1.7 bn adults without any type of bank account. Innovative fin-tech is reaching Africa, testing the waters for digital payments and increased accessibility for the poor.^2
Ending extreme poverty is in everyone’s interest to create a sustainable future in the face of changing climate and geopolitical crises. Investors should take interest as the more people who participate in the financial system the further it will drive the global economy forward. The more consumers to sell to means higher productivity for producers and possibly the solution for reducing stifling global debt.
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^2 FT: “No end to poverty without financial inclusion, says World Bank” 4/24/19