World Bank-IMF Report Tracks Impact Of Global Economic Downturn On MDGs

Though the global economic crisis has slowed the pace of efforts to reduce poverty in developing countries, the countries remain “on track” to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve extreme poverty by 2015, according to a report released Friday by the World Bank and IMF, Agence France-Presse reports (4/26).

“As a result of the crisis, 53 million more people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have, the report found,” New York Times.  “Even so, the report projected that the number of people in extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.25 a day — would be 920 million in 2015, a significant decline from the 1.8 billion in 1990” (Chan, 4/25).

“The multilateral lenders, however, noted that the ‘long-run effect of slower growth on selected MDGs is worrisome,’ specifically the MDG targets on child mortality under five, access to safe drinking water, primary education completion rate, and gender parity in primary and secondary education,” BusinessWorld Online reports (Gallezo, 4/23).

“The financial crisis was a severe external shock that hit poor countries hard,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal said, according to a World Bank press release, which also examines the hunger goals: “The critical MDG target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger from 1990 to 2015 appears very unlikely to be met as over a billion people struggle to meet basic food needs, the report says.”

The press release continues, “Malnutrition among children and pregnant women has a multiplier effect, accounting for more than one-third of the disease burden of children under age five and over 20 percent of maternal mortality. According to World Bank projections, for the period from 2009 to the end of 2015, an estimated 1.2 million additional deaths may occur among children under five due to crisis-related causes” (4/23).

“The [World Bank-IMF] report called for more aid in addition to 234 billion dollars in commitments from the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions,” the AFP adds. The article includes comments by World Bank economists and the international aid organization Oxfam (4/26).

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