May 14th, 2013 11:38 AM UTC
By Ben Leo
This post was originally published on CNN World.
Global Public Square recently published a thoughtful piece on how global poverty rates are falling fast. It argued that one country in particular is almost solely responsible for this dramatic trend: China. Meanwhile, it said progress in the rest of the world “has been much, much slower – if there’s been progress at all.”
Here’s the problem. There are 62 other countries across the globe that are also slashing extreme poverty rates at a remarkable pace. And many of them are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. So, the more important question is – how do we accelerate the progress being made in places like Ethiopia and Uganda while simultaneously jumpstarting it in places that are lagging behind, like Nigeria and the Congo?
It’s true that China’s case is remarkable – both in terms of its sheer scale and speed. It has lifted 680 million people out of poverty in a single generation. That’s amazing. It’s every poverty fighter’s dream. But the global story isn’t just about China. It is also about countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, and Senegal that are also witnessing dramatic declines in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.
According to a forthcoming ONE Campaign report, 63 nations are on track to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 (compared to 1990 levels) – including 16 in Sub-Saharan Africa. And their progress has further sped up over the last decade – particularly as African countries have turned the corner on HIV/AIDS, cleared unsustainable debt loads and made strategic investments in their social and physical infrastructure. The difficult and traumatic decade of the 1990s is receding in the rear-view mirror.
Bono mentioned 10 of these African trailblazers during his recent TED talk. Let’s look at two of them:
– In absolute terms, Ethiopia lifted an estimated 10 million people out of extreme poverty in just over a decade (from 2000 to 2011). During that time, the Ethiopian government focused nearly half of its total budget on poverty fighting sectors like health, agriculture, and education. And donors like the U.S. and Europe provided significant support alongside it. If the current trend holds, extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030.
– Uganda lifted nearly 3 million people out of poverty in four short years (between 2006 and 2009). Overall, the percentage of Ugandans living on less than $1.25 a day has fallen by nearly half since the early 1990s. It, too, could virtually eliminate it by 2030.
These dramatic results have inspired many world leaders – like President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Malawian President Joyce Banda – to declare that the world can virtually eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. Not to mention the World Bank president and a certain Irish rock star to boot.
To get there, several things will have to happen. There is risk in this story, just as there is promise. First, developing economies will not only need to keep growing at a healthy clip, but that growth will need to reach and benefit their poorest citizens. On that, I couldn’t agree more with the Global Public Square article. Conversely, a global growth shock that deals a direct blow to poor nations would be catastrophic in the fight against extreme poverty. Second, governments need to implement targeted policies that address growing rates of inequality. Fortunately, countries like Brazil have shown that this is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Third, and perhaps most challenging, is the tough nut of states that have been governed poorly must be cracked. In Africa, this means places like Nigeria, Sudan, and the Congo. These are the populous nations that are holding down regional progress. They largely explain why Africa’s overall growth rates aren’t even more compelling than they are. One country like Nigeria can overshadow five like Uganda or two like Ethiopia simply because of its size.
Truth be told, nobody has a magic elixir that will transform these places into the next China or Ethiopia. Long running domestic instability, or even conflict, takes time to address. Then again, people said the same thing about China in the 1970s and Ethiopia in the 1980s. Or even Uganda in the 1990s. They were hopeless cases then. But look at them today.
So, going forward, let’s expand the global poverty discussion beyond a singular focus on China. While this tendency may be natural given China’s absolute numbers, it does an injustice to smaller nations that are surging alongside it. These success stories demonstrate that the elimination of extreme poverty is possible well within our lifetime, perhaps only a decade and a half away.
Look out for our 2013 DATA Report, released on 29 May, which looks at how donor and African government spending is linked to progress.
Apr 23rd, 2013 11:29 AM UTC
By Alicia Blázquez
With Germany just months away from a major election in which voters will choose a new parliament, which will in turn elect a new government and Chancellor, ONE Germany last week launched a major new campaign to remind German voters and candidates of both parties of the remaining challenges and the great opportunities in the fight against extreme poverty in this decisive year.
ONE’s co-founder Bono joined German activists, academics and entertainment leaders, as well as 50 ONE Germany Youth Ambassadors, in the launch of the campaign, Ich schaue hin! The phrase has several meanings including: “I am not turning a blind eye. I see the challenges, and I am not going to look away” and “I am looking, my eyes are open. I see the progress that has already been made in Africa and I recognise the opportunity to virtually end extreme poverty on our lifetime.”
Following the campaign launch, Bono, ONE Africa Director Dr. Sipho Moyo and the ONE Youth Ambassadors met privately with Chancellor Angela Merkel for a discussion of the important role Germany has played in helping reduce extreme poverty in the developing world. They discussed the need to continue that leadership even in difficult economic times, and about the importance of doing more to tackle corruption and increase transparency.
After the meeting, Bono said: “She’s got to be the busiest woman in the world so taking time out to meet ONE’s Youth Ambassadors and talk in her hard-headed way about the progress being made in the fight against extreme poverty was very impressive.
The Chancellor has embodied time after time that very German notion that a promise made is a promise kept. Later she made it very clear that Germany’s aid effort must move upward again. And she has promised to work with others on transparency too, so that people across Africa increasingly know what their leaders are doing with their money and hold them accountable.
She also expressed an interest in the business of aid becoming more transparent so that German taxpayers can understand better what their aid is paying for.”
The campaign is asking supporters to sign a petition and add a photo of their eyes to our gallery, to remind the German government we are watching their words and actions on global poverty in the run up to the election in September. German members: add your eyes now!
Apr 10th, 2013 6:34 PM UTC
By Eloise Todd
We did it. After months of our hard campaigning, last night European leaders reached a deal that requires oil, gas, mining, and logging companies to publish the payments they make to governments.
Previously, these payments were made in secret, fuelling corruption; but this victory will help promote accountability. Now citizens will be better able to ensure that the money generated in resource-rich countries is used for vital services like schools, roads and hospitals.
This deal is a historic milestone in the fight against corruption and your actions made all the difference.
More than 162 000 petition signatures; more than 8000 postcards and countless handwritten letters and tweets all made sure our voices couldn’t be ignored.
Help us spread the word that change is possible by shouting about this incredible news.
As Bono said, “Europe’s leaders have stepped up and delivered a gamechanging breakthrough tonight. Transparency is one of the best vaccines against corruption, and now citizens the world over will know what their country’s resources are really worth. I’m delighted for the activists that have campaigned so hard for this to happen and applaud the bravery of politicians who stood up to fierce lobbying and got the deal done.”
And it wouldn’t have happened without you. Thank you again.
Feb 27th, 2013 4:53 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
ONE co-founder Bono made the case that eliminating extreme poverty is possible by 2030 during his speech at the 2013 TED Conference in Long Beach, California, yesterday.
The 2005 TED Prize winner said that transparency, coupled with information technology, is helping to power the fight to the finish – and a new generation of fact-based activists, or “factivists,” could lead the way. Bono encouraged the audience of changemakers to fight apathy, cynicism and inertia and use evidence and statistics to map our path to the “zero zone.”
Extreme poverty has already been cut in half over the past 20 years – and by 2030, the number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.25 a day, would be virtually zero. If we continue on the current trajectory of progress, we can truly make it possible.
“Why aren’t we jumping up and down about this? And 2028, 2030… that’s around the corner,” said Bono. “That’s only three Rolling Stones farewell tours away. Well, the opportunity is real, but so is the jeopardy. We can’t get this done until we really accept that we can get this done. Look at this graph. It’s called inertia… It’s how we screw it up. This one is really beautiful… it’s called Momentum.”
Bono wrapped up his speech with a call for citizens of the world to join ONE. “We in the ONE campaign would love you to be contagious, spread it, share it, pass it on,” he said. “By doing so, you will join us and countless others in what I truly believe is the greatest adventure ever taken. The ever-demanding journey of equality. Could we answer that clarion call of Nelson Mandela with science, reason, facts and dare I say it, emotion?”
Although his speech won’t be released to the public until later, here are some of our favorite stories and blog posts from Bono’s speech at TED so far:
Bono: Extreme Poverty Set to Vanish by 2028 – Mashable
Where the Kids Have a Name – Charles Kenny, Center for Global Development
TED will release the video from Bono’s talk in the near future. We’ll update you when we know more and can share it with you.
Photo credit: TED
Nov 24th, 2012 9:00 AM UTC
By Saira O'Mallie
I’m proud to work for ONE. In the few months I’ve been here, I’ve seen some amazing achievements and steps taken towards our goal of ending extreme poverty.
I sometimes forget that this fight has been going on for a long time, and it’s even easier to forget that we started making progress decades ago. We always hear bad news, but I think it’s good to spend some time thinking about the journey we’ve taken and just how far we’ve come.
So I’ll be tuning in to Why Poverty? Give Us The Money, a behind-the-scenes look at 30 years of Bob Geldof and Bono’s campaign against poverty. Without them, I wouldn’t be at ONE. I can’t wait to hear how they made it happen.
If you watch, I’d love to know what you think and if it raises any questions for you. But really I hope it gives you some ammunition, so next time someone says things aren’t getting any better, you’ll have seen for yourself that it is and be able to share that information too.
Why Poverty? Give Us The Money will be on BBC4 in the UK on Sunday 25 December at 9pm GMT/UTC. To find about broadcasts in other countries visit the Why Poverty? website.
You can also watch BBC World Service Why Poverty? debate on Saturday 24 November at 20:05 pm GMT/UTC. Find out more on the BBC website.
Nov 14th, 2012 3:52 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Missed Bono’s incredible speech on activism at Georgetown University yesterday? Never fear! Bono will be speaking at the World Bank tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET/ 20 GMT, which you can watch live in the player below.
The screen will be black until the event starts.
Bono will join World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in a conversation on how to end world poverty, drawing on ideas crowdsourced from social media.
For weeks, the World Bank has been asking their social audience this question: What will it take to end poverty? Participants have been sharing their views, their hopes, and their solutions to creating better lives, which you can read and join here. Or, tweet your idea with the hashtag #ittakes.
ONE will be live tweeting the event at @ONECampaign, so don’t forget to tune into Twitter tomorrow!
Nov 13th, 2012 5:12 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
ONE Co-founder Bono gave a powerful speech on activism and global social movements to a crowd of 700 students at Georgetown University last night. His nearly hour-long speech received a standing ovation and praise on Twitter and Facebook. Many students walked away feeling inspired and uplifted.
“Best speech ever,” one student remarked as he left the building. “This is going to be all over YouTube tomorrow,” another said.
Oct 15th, 2012 5:43 PM UTC
By Bill Gates
Bill Gates was in Europe last week for stops in London and Paris. He’s traveling part of the time with Bono to meet with government leaders and policy makers of countries that are key contributors to global health and development work. This piece was originally published on the Gates Notes blog.
I spent Wednesday in Paris, talking about the importance and effectiveness of foreign aid. My partner in many of those meetings was Bono, who has used his voice so effectively to advocate for development aid and the needs of the poorest people on earth.
By any estimation, my few days in Europe were off to a good start.
We spent the better part of the day meeting with senior French officials, including France’s new president, Francois Hollande, his finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, and their new Development Minister, Pascal Canfin.
We spent the better part of our first day of the trip meeting with senior French officials, including France’s new president, Francois Hollande.
France plays a critical role in encouraging the European Union to keep its commitments to overseas development assistance programs, particularly in the face of Europe’s economic difficulties. Its own commitment to foreign aid is a tremendous example to other donor countries. That was the context for our meetings.
President Hollande was clear he remains committed to aid, and that he is an advocate for both the effectiveness of foreign aid when it is carefully done, and the responsibility developed countries have in working with the developing world.
I’m very pleased with our meetings. They took place in spectacular surroundings, but the focus was on the poor. And that made for a very good first day in Europe.
President Hollande was clear that he remains committed to aid, and that he is an advocate for both the effectiveness of foreign aid when it is carefully done, and the responsibility developed countries have in working with the developing world. France has a remarkable history of support for Africa and for its assistance efforts around the world, with organizations like Médecins sans Frontières. The President also spoke about how aid can benefit both the recipient and donor countries.
France’s finance minister Pierre Moscovici made this point last month when he noted that Europe’s growth over the next 20 years will depend heavily on Africa’s growth and development. Ensuring that all Africans have a chance for a better future is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do from an economic standpoint.
We had a good exchange about getting the most out of every Euro of aid. I’m a big advocate for the incredible impact that investments in vaccines can achieve, and was very happy to hear the President specifically call out France’s commitment to staying involved with the Global Fund, which provides funding for programs to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria. France should be particularly proud in their leadership with the Global Fund. Their help is making a real difference in millions of lives around the world.
Support from leaders like President Hollande is critical to preserving those life-saving investments in aid and explaining why staying true to the EU goal of devoting .7% of national budgets to foreign aid is the right course.
Bono was very persuasive about the impact foreign aid is having, as well as the devastating consequences withdrawing it could have on poor countries, particularly in Africa.
I was really pleased with our meetings. They took place in spectacular surroundings (the Élysée Palace is a stunning example of French style and decoration). But the focus was on the poor, on both sides of the table. And that made for a very good first day in Europe.
May 20th, 2012 11:18 AM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
UPDATE: For those who may have missed Bono’s remarks, you can check out the full video right here:
Amid a flurry of public officials, business and NGO leaders and African heads of state at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs‘ Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, ONE had one of it’s own represented: our cofounder Bono.
Bono just finished up a speech which covered everything from global agriculture to foreign aid to transparency in the mining industry. In the context of the day’s events, his remarks were a call to action to everyone in the room, urging us to work together to help lift 50 million people out of poverty.
“The conversation has changed,” he said. “Aid is smarter. It’s finally dawning on most of us that the continent that contains the most poverty also contains the most wealth… Imagine a place bursting at the seams with gold, copper, oil… undeveloped arable land. Not to mention the human resources.”
Bono praised President Obama’s new alliance to promote agricultural growth in Africa, which was announced earlier today. “If the words of his speech are turned into bold action in partnership with the developing world and the private sector, then today was a real moment,” he said.
He did not shy away from acknowledging the harsh economic realities that many governments face today, bringing up the EU’s 0.7 percent ODA target, which is currently under threat. He also said that international development, like music, can be subject to the whims of fashion. “Hunger was boring, even unsexy, in some quarters,” he said. “But it’s not boring if you live in the Sahel right now.”
It was an inspiring speech overall, but I think he summed it up best with this quote: “The moment we’re all working for is when we make aid history.” We couldn’t agree more.
May 18th, 2012 12:13 PM UTC
By Kathy McKiernan
ONE is in full-gear on all fronts heading into the G8 meeting this weekend, including our co-founder Bono. In addition to participating in our ONE Street Tweet action (you can see his message in the photo above) and speaking at tomorrow’s Chicago Council Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, he has written a piece in TIME magazine that calls on G8 and African leaders to work together to ensure that Africa’s immense natural resources — oil, gas, minerals and more — are used for the benefit of all in Africa, and not just the few.
He makes the case that effective, transparent management of Africa’s natural resources is the key to the continent’s future development and calls on world leaders to support tough legislation requiring transparency around payments between oil companies and countries rich in oil. Too often in developing countries, those deals are tainted by corruption — and what should be a resource “miracle” becomes a resource “curse.”
Bono also calls on the G8 to stick with and deliver on its commitments to fund smart, effective initiatives that are helping African farmers develop their most fundamental natural resource — their land — in ways that will not only lift countries out of poverty, but deal a blow to hunger and malnutrition, too.
Bono writes in TIME:
“Food and agriculture are the place to start. At Camp David, the G-8, led by President Obama, will work on an ambitious plan for global food security, centered on commitments made and costed by 30 nations in the developing world. By partnering with such leadership, there is a very real chance of lifting 50 million people out of extreme poverty over the coming decade and sparing 15 million children the cruelty of severe malnourishment. This isn’t about the G-8′s committing massive new aid increases. It’s about continuing present investment and making it smarter. Beyond food, Africa’s vast oil and mineral reserves can be a pipeline to investments in health, education and roads. Mineral extraction is an expensive enterprise, and those who invest in it deserve to make a profit. But they should pay what they owe to governments. Transparency is the vaccine to prevent the biggest disease of them all – corruption, which any African will tell you is killing more kids than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined …
“In hard times, we hear a lot about “resource management.” Resource mismanagement–whether food insecurity or corruption in oil and mineral development–is something the G-8 can reverse, and it can do it not by spending new money but by acting in partnership with the developing world.”
Read the rest of the article here.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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