- Q: How does food insecurity affect human and economic development?
- A: Children who are malnourished when they reach their second birthday could suffer permanent physical and cognitive damage, thereby affecting their future health, welfare, and economic well-being. For developing countries, the impact on their ability to raise a productive workforce can last for generations, while in the shorter term rising food prices can exacerbate inequality and lead to conflict and political instability.
World Bank Group: Working to End Extreme Poverty and Hunger
The world achieved Goal 1 five years ahead of schedule. In 2010, an estimated 21 percent of people in the developing world lived at or below $1.25 a day – down from 43 percent in 1990 and 52 percent in 1981. The poverty milestone has not yet been met in much of Africa and South Asia, however. More than a billion people worldwide still live in extreme poverty, and many more experience hunger and are vulnerable to environmental or price shocks. Undernutrition remains one of the world’s most serious but least addressed public health challenges. Nearly one-third of children in developing countries are underweight or stunted (low height for age), and undernutrition contributes to one-third of all child deaths. The World Bank Group is working with the international community to end extreme poverty in a generation and boost incomes for the bottom 40 percent in each country. With food security a vital part of this effort, the Bank Group is boosting agriculture financing to $8-10 billion a year and is working in multiple ways to build agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change.
- We can reduce poverty and hunger by:
- investing in agriculture
- creating jobs
- expanding social safety nets
- expanding nutrition programs that target children under 2 years of age
- universalizing education
- promoting gender equality
- protecting vulnerable countries during crises
Making Strides in Eradicating Poverty and Hunger
A meaningful path out of poverty requires a strong economy that produces jobs and good wages; a government that can provide schools, hospitals, roads, and energy; and healthy, well-nourished children who are the future human capital that will fuel economic growth. Between 2003 and 2013, the Bank Group supported basic nutrition services for more than 211 million pregnant women, nursing mothers, adolescent girls, and children under 5. The Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries –the International Development Association (IDA) – committed a record $22.2 billion in fiscal year 2014 to promote economic growth, increase shared prosperity, and fight extreme poverty. The Bank Group has joined with more than 100 partner agencies and organizations to endorse Scaling Up Nutrition: A Framework for Action, which sets forth principles and priorities for action to address undernutrition and help countries reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Our Poverty and Hunger Strategy
- Provide governments zero-interest development financing, grants, and guarantees
- Offer technical assistance and other advisory services to reduce poverty and malnutrition
- Use safety nets and nutrition programs to cushion the impact of the food and financial crises
- Increase support for agriculture and food security
- Boost spending on agriculture to $8-10 billion a year between 2013-2015, up from $4 billion in 2008.
- Serve as trustee for the multi-donor Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) helping countries develop and implement food security strategies.
Some of Our MDG 1 Results
- Kenya: Supported 245,000 orphans and vulnerable children living in extreme poverty (as of 2011) through a safety net program covering 83,000 households.
- Lao PDR: Provided better access to roads, primary education, clean water, and health care for 650,000 people from the poorest rural and remote communities through the Poverty Reduction Fund established in 2003.
- Moldova: Empowered 932,000 people (more than one-quarter of the country’s population) through a social investment fund, from 1998 to 2011, to manage their own development needs.
- Nepal: Reduced by 50 percent the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 2003 to 2011.
- Peru: Aided efforts to reduce stunting in children by 8.3 percent, from 27.8 percent in 2007/8 to 19.5 percent in 2011 -- among the fastest rates of reduction seen for stunting globally.
- Senegal: Improved food security for 1.3 million children under 5 through a community nutrition program. In addition, almost 300,000 primary school children received weekly micronutrients supplements and deworming medication.
How’s the World Doing?
- 54% of developing countries have met or are on track to meet the goal of cutting extreme poverty in half.
- 700 million fewer people lived in extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.
- 29%of countries have halved child malnutrition or are on track.
- 1.2 billion people around the world still live in extreme poverty.