- 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: A First Responder to Global Crises
For more than 60 years, the World Bank has partnered with governments worldwide, reducing poverty by providing financial and technical help. But the recent food, fuel, and economic crises have dealt a triple blow to gains made toward achieving MDG 1. The World Bank has a track record of reacting quickly. Its development financing in FY09 saw an unprecedented 54% increase over FY08, helping to prevent malnutrition in young children and pregnant women; keep children in school and health clinics open; and expand nutrition programs and microfinance loans to women. Additionally, in 2008, the World Bank established the Global Food Crisis Response Program to assist the countries hardest hit by the dramatic rise in food prices.
- We can reduce poverty and hunger by:
- investing in agriculture
- creating jobs
- expanding social safety nets
- expanding nutrition programs that target children under two 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. Economic growth in countries supported by IDA—the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries—more than doubled from 2007 through 2009 compared with the previous 15 years. Real GDP per capita in those countries grew by 5.8% annually.
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
- The Bank has supported the provision of some 2.3 million school meals every day to children in low income countries.
- Increased support for agriculture and food security
- The World Bank Group is boosting spending on agriculture to some $6-8 billion a year from $4 billion in 2008.
- The Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) is reaching some 40 million vulnerable people in 47 countries through $1.5 billion in support.
Some of Our MDG 1 Results
IDA is helping to achieve MDG 1 by providing $15 billion to the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative affecting 26 countries and $1.4 billion to social safety net programs in 39 countries.
- Ethiopia: Increased number of people with access to safe water from 60% in 1990 to 94% in 2008.
- Senegal: Protected more than 500,000 people through dam rehabilitation.
- Armenia: Reduced electricity grid losses 22% between 2002 and 2007.
- India: A watershed management project in five districts resulted in a 66% increase in household income.
How’s the World Doing?
- 45 out of 84 countries* are on track to meet the goal of cutting poverty in half.
- 27% fewer people will be living in poverty in 2015 than in 1990.
- 25 out of 55 countries* have halved child malnutrition or are on track.
- 1.6 billion people gained access to clean drinking water from 1990 to 2006.