World Bank President Pledges to Reduce Poverty by Half by 2020

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said today that the organization intends to help cut extreme poverty in half within seven years.

Meeting the new interim target will be needed to reduce global poverty to 3 percent by 2030, Kim said at a conference in Washington. That’s one of the bank’s dual goals, along with boosting incomes of the poorest 40 percent.

“We don’t think that there’s any way that we can get 3 percent, unless we’re at least at 9 percent by 2020,” Kim said.

The Washington-based lender defines extreme poverty as those who live on less than $1.25 a day and says more than 1 billion people currently do.

The global poverty rate is now about 18 percent, according to Kim. He said that developing countries will have to perform at their highest growth rates in recent years, not their averages, to ease poverty in line with the World Bank’s targets.

Kim, responding to a question about the political impasse over fiscal issues in the U.S., said it’s already poised to lower demand for U.S. exports. He also said the World Bank would provide direct support to member nations if the U.S. defaults and threatens their stability.

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