I will give you the good news first. For the first time ever, the majority of the world is not living in poverty. Just over 50% of the world’s population has now inched into middle class or wealthy status. That’s 3.8 billion people. (2) Actually, this isn’t good news. This is great news.
Now for the bad news. We still have just under 50% of the world’s population living in poverty. Further, the rate of decline the world has seen in the number of people living in extreme poverty has slowed. (2)
The difference between moderate and extreme poverty is an important distinction to make. Moderate poverty is defined by the World Bank as an individual living on just $3.10 per day. Extreme poverty is defined as living on just $1.90 per day. Those in extreme poverty are simply fighting for daily survival. In October, 2018, the World Bank made a preliminary forecast that extreme poverty in 2018 would decline to 8.6% of the global population. That is down from 10% in 2015 and down from 36% in 1990. (3) By any measure, great strides have been made to reduce global poverty over the past several decades.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim agrees. He stated: “Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest achievements of our time.” (3)
Still, the fear is that if progress continues to slow, the world will not meet the 2030 sustainable development goal of reducing extreme poverty to no more than 3% of the global population. Predictions are that extreme poverty will increasingly be concentrated in a small group of countries, most located in Sub-Saharan Africa. (3)
The reduction of extreme poverty globally has taken place in shifts. First, the world saw a drastic reduction in China. Next, came India. Now, the world’s eyes are turning towards Africa, which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes should be the priority over the next several decades. (1)
Why the concentration of extreme poverty in Africa? One explanation is population growth. If it stays on its current track, the continent of Africa is expected to double its current population by 2050. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has predicted that by this same year, nearly 90% of global poverty will be concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. (1)
Because almost 60% of the population on the continent of Africa is currently under the age of 25 (compared to 35% in the U.S. and 27% in Europe), the foundation aims to put their money and efforts in the young, focusing on health and education. (1)
Across the globe, the Number of Children and Adolescents Not Reaching a Minimum Proficiency in Reading
In their 2018 Goalkeepers Report, Bill and Melinda Gates said: “The conclusion is clear: to continue improving the human condition, our task now is to help create opportunities in Africa’s fastest growing, poorest countries….This means investing in young people.” (1)
In Tanzania, one investment is at Saving Grace School which currently serves 72 preschool age impoverished children who otherwise would not have access to an education. Brighter Tanzania Foundation aims to use Saving Grace as a blueprint to build other schools throughout Tanzania. In so doing, BTF will continue to serve those suffering from extreme poverty by providing a foundation for communities through strong education.
Without a doubt, Saving Grace School (and Brighter Tanzania Foundation) are at ground zero for battling poverty.