World Bank head in Ghana says global efforts needed to end poverty in next 15 years

ACCRA, Ghana – The world is capable of ending global poverty in the next 15 years if countries make tough decisions to enact reforms that will spur growth, the president of the World Bank Group said Friday during a visit to Ghana.

Nations must also invest in their people and provide insurance so citizens don’t fall back into poverty, said World Bank Group head Jim Yong Kim. He spoke in the capital, Accra, to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Kim said the World Bank wants to improve the lives of people around the world and has two goals: “end poverty by 2030 and to boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40 per cent of the population in developing countries.”

However, he cautioned that reducing poverty by 2030 “will be extraordinarily difficult, especially during this time of low global economic growth, low commodity prices and pending interest rate hikes.”

A positive sign is that the number of people who earn less than $1.90 a day is likely to fall below 10 per cent this year to 9.6 per cent, he said. Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has fallen from 56 per cent in 1990 to a projected 35 per cent in 2015, according to World Bank figures.

Progress in many countries is challenged by a rapid population growth, the group has said.

Kim also said global transparency was needed to fight the trend of illicit flows of money that affect poverty.

Kim is also in Ghana to participate in high-level talks and launch a report on poverty in Africa, the World Bank said.

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, who is meeting with Kim, said transformational programs are needed on a continental level to develop agriculture, creating jobs and providing food for the people in Africa.