Over the last 20 years, extreme poverty has been halved. If we step up efforts, we can virtually eliminate it by 2030.
Government revenues in most developing countries have considerably increased over the years, which is brilliant. Because of this, these countries have become increasingly able to finance their own development. This trend has been very positive and encouraging in the fight against extreme poverty. Making sure these revenues are adequately used to finance development is now the main challenge ahead for all these countries.
However there are still some 48 countries, the least-developed countries, that haven’t been able yet to truly benefit from increased government revenues and have very limited access to other financial resources. These countries are the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
In 2012, governments of these countries only had $181, on average, to spend per person for the whole year. However, almost half of their populations live on less than $1.25 a day.
In these countries, aid is a vital lifeline for essential sectors like healthcare services, education and agriculture.
Liberia is a least developed country (LDC) which is currently facing a devastating Ebola outbreak, but as tax revenues amounted to just $132 per person in 2012, it means the government has very limited resources to fight the fast-killing virus.
It may surprise you to learn that only a third of global aid goes to Liberia and the other 47 poorest countries.
Additionally, aid to the least-developed countries has been declining, and this is likely to continue. Projections show that the poorest and most vulnerable countries will receive less aid in 2017 than in 2014.
Rightly worried by this, least developed countries themselves are urging donors to channel a greater proportion of their aid to them – at least 50%. In 2012, this would have made $22 billion of extra support available to people living in the poorest countries, which could have been invested in crucial health and education services.
Next year, the world’s governments will meet to discuss how we finance global development and get on track to virtually eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. We must ensure that the poorest countries aren’t left behind.
The UK government has shown its commitment to fight extreme poverty by keep its promise to spend 0.7% of national income on life saving aid. But now we need to make sure at least half of it goes to the poorest countries. We’re calling on the UK government to lead by example and listen to the calls by least developed countries themselves by targeting 50% of UK aid to them.
You can help. Send a postcard to the UK government now.
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Dig deeper: download the 2014 DATA Report for more analysis and recommendations on development finance.