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2015 development goals within reach- IMF, WB

WASHINGTON, April 16, AFP

Goals for slashing extreme poverty and hunger in the world by 2015 are more in reach as two-thirds of developing countries near the targets, a World Bank-IMF report said Friday.

But much of the progress reflects rapid economic growth in China and India, while many African countries are lagging behind, economists warned.

In a mainly upbeat assessment of progress on the Millennium Development Goals, an eight-point program set up by the international community in 2000, the World Bank and its sister institution the International Monetary Fund called for stepped-up efforts to close the gap.

“Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting key targets for tackling extreme poverty and hunger,” the Washington-based institutions said in this year’s Global Monitoring Report.

The United Nations set a 15-year timeframe at the turn of the millennium to achieve its goals of halving extreme poverty, boosting health and education and further empowering women across the developing world.

The IMF-World Bank report card reveals “a diverse, and often hopeful, picture,” the institutions said. Among developing countries that are falling short, half are close to getting on the road to achieving the goals.

“With improved policies and faster growth, these countries can still achieve the targets in 2015 or soon after,” the report said.

According to the report, based on current economic projections, the world remains on track to reduce by half the number of people living in extreme poverty.

The number of people living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day is forecast to fall to 883 million in 2015, compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990. “Reaching the MDGs (goals) is a significant achievement for developing countries. But there still is much to do in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes even in the successful countries,” Hans Timmer, director of development prospects at the World Bank, said in a statement.

“Donors should build on this success and help countries make the next step through investments in effective service delivery,” he added.

Seventeen countries are far from halving extreme poverty, economists said.

Brad McDonald, deputy division chief and IMF coordinator for the report, emphasized that economic growth continues to be a major factor in reaching the targets.Although the 2008-2009 global economic and financial crises had set back progress, he said, “many low-income countries that had strong macroeconomic policies were able to soften the impact of the crisis with active tax and spending policies.”

 

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