The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty

The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 415
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty
    Book Description:

    The past quarter century has witnessed a stunning reduction in the number of people around the world living on less than $1.25 a day, the marker for extreme poverty. This has led to a new sense of hope that extreme poverty can be eradicated within a generation. Yet optimism is tempered by the unique circumstances facing those who remain left behind and new challenges that weaken traditional paths to prosperity.

    The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Povertyexplores what it will take to finish the course. It identifies three critical challenges that define the last mile: securing peace, creating jobs, and strengthening resilience. These are issues that development experts have largely overlooked, on which cutting-edge knowledge is blunt and best-practice solutions feel decidedly underwhelming.

    By uncovering evidence and approaches to address these issues-and while pointing out the knowledge gaps that remain-The Last Mile outlines an agenda to inform development research and poverty reduction strategies for governments, international organizations, donors, charities, and foundations around the world.

    Contributors: Michael Carnahan (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia), Raj M. Desai (Georgetown University and Brookings), Shane Evans (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia), Akio Hosono (JICA), Bruce Jones (Brookings), Marcus Manuel (Overseas Development Institute), John McArthur (Brookings and UN Foundation), Alastair McKechnie (Overseas Development Institute and University of Otago), Gary Milante (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Yoichi Mine (JICA and Doshisha University), Ryutaro Murotani (JICA), John Page (Brookings), Go Shimada (University of Shizuoka, JICA, Columbia University, and Waseda University), Stephen C. Smith (George Washington University and Brookings)

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2634-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Business, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. 1 From a Billion to Zero: Three Key Ingredients to End Extreme Poverty
    (pp. 1-34)

    On January 20, 1949, in the first-ever televised U.S. presidential inauguration, President Harry Truman stood on the steps of the Capitol and foretold of a better world, one of international order and justice and greater freedom, rid of the scourge of poverty:

    More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and the...

  5. Part I. Securing Peace

    • 2 No Development without Peace: Laying the Political and Security Foundations
      (pp. 37-75)

      In November 2012 a newly formed rebel movement, known as Seleka, began fighting in the northern and central regions of the Central African Republic (CAR), quickly scoring victories and holding territory. In March 2013 they overran the capital, Bangui, and seized power, suspending the constitution and dissolving parliament. By August 2013 the UN secretary general was warning that CAR had suffered a total breakdown of law and order.¹ In October 2013 the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission to reinforce an existing African Union mission on the ground.

      Characteristically slow to arrive, the UN...

    • 3 Bridging State and Local Communities in Fragile States: Subnational Institutions as a Strategic Focus to Restore State Legitimacy
      (pp. 76-94)

      Extreme poverty will persist in fragile states for a long time to come, even beyond 2015, the target year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As Gertz and Chandy (2011) point out, fragile states, in contrast to many developing countries, have not succeeded in reducing poverty significantly despite efforts to meet the MDGs. Chandy, Ledlie, and Penciakova (2013) predict that the percentage of the world’s poor living in fragile states will rise from one-third (as it currently stands) to one-half by 2018, and to nearly two-thirds by 2030. Given that nearly 1.5 billion people presently live in countries affected by...

    • 4 Peace Building and State Building in Fragile States: External Support That Works
      (pp. 95-131)

      While there is no internationally agreed definition of a fragile state or an agreed list of fragile states, there is an emerging consensus of what constitutes fragility and why development is so difficult in fragile settings. Most of human history has been characterized by the threat of armed violence and chaos (North and others 2013), although the risk of politically motivated violence that affects civil order in industrialized countries is now small. More recent examples show how civil conflict, sometimes in countries that appear stable and on a development trajectory, sets back development and destroys not only past investment but...

    • 5 A Thousand Paths to Poverty Reduction
      (pp. 132-172)

      The global goal of poverty eradication by 2030 is an admirable endeavor for any generation, and it has fallen to ours.¹ The goal is incredibly ambitious; it means creating the means, capacity, and opportunity for approximately a billion people to climb out of extreme poverty over the next fifteen years. Ignoring reverses, life cycles, and demographic shifts and setting aside the problems associated with a poverty measurement of $1.25 a day, to achieve this goal, 181,729 people would have to move out of poverty every day for the next fifteen years. That equals 7,572 people moving out of poverty every...

  6. Part II. Creating Jobs

    • 6 Agriculture’s Role in Ending Extreme Poverty
      (pp. 175-218)

      Roughly 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor people are estimated to live in rural areas, and around 60 percent work in agriculture (Olinto and others 2013).¹ As of late 2014 it remains difficult to translate these proportions into precise headcount figures, but a reasonable approximation suggests that approximately 800 million extremely poor people live in rural areas, and more than 600 million are engaged in agriculture.² Amidst the world’s extraordinary recent declines in extreme poverty, the foremost last mile challenge of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 will be to ensure that these farm families and local economies can reliably...

    • 7 Structural Change and Africa’s Poverty Puzzle
      (pp. 219-248)

      Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed nearly twenty years of sustained economic growth. The region grew at around 4.6 percent a year during the last decade, exceeding the average for the rest of the developing world (excluding China) by about 1 percentage point.¹ Per capita income has been rising steadily, and with six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries, cheerleaders as diverse asThe Economistand the World Bank have branded Africa the developing world’s next “frontier market.” At the same time, however, there are growing concerns that rapid economic growth has not produced equally rapid poverty reduction. Poverty has declined, to...

    • 8 Public Goods for Private Jobs: Lessons from Postconflict Small Island States
      (pp. 249-274)

      Strong, inclusive employment and income growth are more critical to fragile and conflict-affected countries (FCACs) than to other states. Unfortunately, employment and income growth are also difficult to generate. The problem is no less challenging in postconflict small island states. There is often a focus on larger countries because they contribute more to global poverty aggregates. However, going the last mile to end extreme poverty will include addressing the unique challenges facing small island states. Feeny, Iamsiraroj, and McGillivray (2014) describe these challenges as the small size of domestic markets, the great distances some locations are from major markets, and...

    • 9 Transforming Economies for Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Strategies for Sub-Saharan Countries
      (pp. 275-298)

      Increasing attention is being paid in debates on development to “inclusive growth.” The term has no standard definition, but the meaning is clear. Economic growth is more desirable and beneficial to societies if it is accompanied by productive jobs and if its benefits are widely shared. However, some people, some areas, and some sectors may get left behind, even during periods of rapid growth. Jobs can be a useful lens through which to examine inclusive growth. The World Bank’sWorld Development Report 2013: Jobs(World Bank 2012) stresses that jobs are a cornerstone of development, bringing benefits that extend far...

  7. Part III. Building Resilience

    • 10 Social Policy and the Elimination of Extreme Poverty
      (pp. 301-327)
      RAJ M. DESAI

      In 1990 approximately half of the population in the developing world lived on less than US$1.25 a day. By 2010 some 700 million people had been lifted out of poverty, dropping that rate to 22 percent, and fulfilling the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty in half (UN 2014). Still, a billion people continue to live below the $1.25-a-day line, and achieving the “last mile” in eradicating poverty will require a different set of instruments, institutions, and policy regimes than has been commonly used.

      This chapter argues that, although much progress against extreme poverty in low- and middle-income...

    • 11 The Two Fragilities: Vulnerability to Conflict, Environmental Stress, and Their Interactions as Challenges to Ending Poverty
      (pp. 328-368)

      This chapter examines two types of fragility, environmental and governmental, and their interactions. Increasing environmental fragility, resulting from both external climate change impacts and domestic activities, is a worsening problem in many developing countries. Climate adaptations include large-scale migration and accelerated exploitation of natural resources, leading to heightened risks of conflict. Examples from experiences in such countries as Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, and Uganda illustrate the conflict risks of maladaptation by individuals and communities. In addition, maladaptation by governments, such as shortsighted or interest-group-dominated environmental resource mismanagement, can also increase conflict risk and undermine development prospects. Violent conflict can also...

    • 12 Toward Community Resilience: The Role of Social Capital after Disasters
      (pp. 369-398)

      Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, swept across the central Philippines with gusts of up to 200 miles an hour (320 kilometers an hour) on November 8, 2013. It has been estimated that the cost of reconstruction would reach almost US$6 billion. As figure 12-1 shows, in the last two decades there has been an upward trend in the number of such disasters globally.

      As the frequency of disasters increases rapidly, the need to build social resilience becomes more and more important. This is particularly important in developing countries, as many countries that have the hardest task...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 399-400)
  9. Index
    (pp. 401-415)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 416-416)