Saudi Arabia has the tenth lowest poverty rate worldwide and ranks the highest among the Arab region in terms of minimizing poverty, the latest World Bank report on global poverty revealed.
Taiwan has the lowest poverty rate worldwide – only 1.5 percent of Taiwan’s population lives in poverty, followed by Malaysia at 3.8 percent, Ireland at 5.5 percent, Austria at 6.2 percent, then Thailand and France at 7.8 percent, Switzerland at 7.9 percent, Canada at 9.4 percent, the Netherlands at 10.5 percent, and Saudi Arabia at 12.7 percent, the report said.
The exact poverty line is relative, but is known internationally to constitute the minimum income rate required for providing basic life needs, such as food, clothing, housing, and health care.
All those who fail to obtain life’s basic needs are considered to be living in extreme poverty.
In 2008 the World Bank raised its poverty line estimate from $1 to $1.25, adjusted at the purchasing power parity level for 2005 to allow for a comparison across countries.
Chad, Haiti and Liberia rank as the poorest countries worldwide, with more than 80 percent of their populations living in extreme poverty.
Calling for greater urgency to end extreme poverty, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced that the World Bank has set an interim target to reduce global poverty to 9 percent in 2020, which, if achieved, would mark the first time the rate has fallen into the single digits.
The milestone was based on a World Bank economic analysis of global poverty trends toward reaching a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Living in extreme poverty is defined as below $1.25 a day.
World Bank Group economists found if developing countries continued their strong growth rates in the coming seven years – far from a given – the global rate would dip below 10 percent for the first time since such figures were first reported in the World Development Report in 1990. Since 1990, when 43 percent of the people living in developing countries lived in poverty, global poverty has been in a steady retreat. An estimated 1.9 billion people lived in poverty in 1990, and that number fell to 1.2 billion in 2010.
At 9 percent in 2020 means an estimated 690 million people would be still living in extreme poverty. If reached, the world would have 510 million fewer people living in poverty in 2020, compared to a decade earlier. That would be the equivalent of half of the population of the continent of Africa, or more than double the population of Indonesia.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.