By Rebecca Harper
There has been an air of excitement at the ONE Campaign recently. In the middle of the insanity that is sequestration, a few remarkable statistics have been the source of what could almost be described as giddiness at an office plastered with pictures of wristband-clad celebrities.
‘Forget the bombast, my usual tricks. The only thing singing today would be the facts, for I have truly embraced my inner nerd. So exit the rock star. Enter the evidence-based activist, the activist.’
Bono took to the stage at TED two weeks ago to tell the world the reason why.
‘The number of people living in back-breaking, soul-crushing extreme poverty has declined from 43 percent of the world’s population in 1990 to 33 percent by 2000 and then to 21 percent by 2010. Give it up for that. Halved…. And guess what? If the trajectory continues, look where the amount of people living on $1.25 a day gets to by 2030. [Zero]’
The story of this trend is multifaceted. It involves a ten-fold increase in Foreign Direct Investment, child mortality rates cut by a third and education completion rates doubled in ten countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. And it includes the fact that eight African countries have cut Malaria death rates by 75 percent in since 2000.
The global landscape has changed dramatically over the course of the past few decades. All of the twenty fastest growing economies in the world today are in the so-called ‘global south’. Eleven of these are African (according to projections by the World Bank) and poverty rates are dropping to percentages completely unprecedented in human history. The idea that a world without extreme poverty is possible within our lifetime is very good news indeed.