Ending poverty needs more than growth, World Bank says

media captionThe BBC's Michelle Fleury talks to World Bank president Jim Yong Kim about attempts to reduce extreme poverty.

Economic growth is "not enough" to end global poverty, the World Bank has said.

It has urged developing countries to allocate more resources to their extreme poor, including through bigger welfare programmes.

The bank, which last year set itself the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, said such measures would increase productivity and growth.

But the impact on poverty of growth alone has its limits, the bank said.

"Even if all countries grow at the same rates as over the past 20 years, and if the income distribution remains unchanged, world poverty will only fall by 10% by 2030, from 17.7% in 2010," said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

"This is simply not enough, and we need a laser-like focus on making growth more inclusive and targeting more programmes to assist the poor directly if we're going to end extreme poverty."

image captionThe highest levels of extreme poverty are in Africa, the World Bank said

The bank called on developing countries to help end extreme poverty through welfare schemes, such as rewards for those who enrol their children at school or receive regular health checks.

This, it believes, would lift the incomes of the poorest, who would then be able to contribute to broader growth.

'Extraordinarily difficult'

To achieve its 2030 target, the bank estimates the extreme poor - those earning less than $1.25 (74p) a day - will have to decrease by 50 million people each year until 2030.

That is the equivalent of a million people each week for the next 16 years.

"This will be extraordinarily difficult, but I believe we can do it," said Mr Kim, at the start of the bank's spring meeting.

"This can be the generation that ends extreme poverty."

The country with the biggest extreme poverty is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 88% of the population is below the poverty line.

It is followed by Liberia, where 84% of people are in extreme poverty, and Burundi and Madagascar, where the figure is 81%.

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