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Imagine a world without extreme poverty. The Economist did and in doing so joined others who have argued that extreme poverty - those who live on $1.25 a day or less - could be ended by 2030. Furthermore, as extreme poverty moves towards zero, the proportion of the world’s poorest in fragile states will rise from one-third today to two-thirds in 2030 and the remainder will be living largely in stable, middle-income countries. In short, almost none of the poor will be in ‘traditional’ poor countries, ie those which are low income and stable. Actually this is not a future possibility. It is already the case that only 6% of those on $1.25 a day live in such countries.
All of which leads us to what The Economist called the ‘double dilemma’ for donors: What if global poverty is increasingly focused either in countries which do not really need aid or in countries who cannot absorb aid easily and quickly? These are not trifling matters. The annual aid budget is currently $125 billion per year.
To answer that question, begin with a quick recap on the maths on ending poverty.