Global heat maps of extreme poverty show Africa in deep red.
And the problem will only accelerate as population on the continent grows in coming decades.
“The problems are very real and are large,” newly installed World Bank President David Malpass told AFP in an interview.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have had a mixed record in addressing the longstanding challenge of poverty on the continent since the institutions were founded 75 years ago.
Now they must confront the need for massive investment in infrastructure and job creation in the coming years just to keep pace with the growing population on the continent, all while simultaneously managing the threat posed by climate change in a region perhaps least able to confront the costs.
Malpass has made that mission a priority.
“I have put emphasis on having the bottom 40 percent of the population see more jobs, more cash income but also more of the inputs to a better living standard,” Malpass said.
“That might mean access to healthcare, to education. And that would be better environmental practices — all of that contributing to a more prosperous … society.”
In the most recent numbers available, World Bank data show extreme poverty fell worldwide to a new low of 10 percent in 2015. The number of extremely poor people — those who live on $1.90 a day or less, has fallen by more than one billion since 1990.
However, that number is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was home more to than half of the world’s extreme poor in 2015.
And forecasts indicate that by 2030, nearly nine in 10 extremely poor people will live in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the continent is expected to add 1.3 billion people, more than half the world’s population growth.