Grow, invest, insure : a game plan to end extreme poverty by 2030

As global extreme poverty has fallen -- by one measure, from close to 2 billion people in 1990 to about 700 million today -- the world has learned about antipoverty strategies that work. These experiences should inform the final push to end extreme poverty. In the 1960s and 1970s, when close to half of the world was living in extreme poverty, the approach that worked best consisted of two sets of complementary measures: encouraging broad-based growth that is labor using, and investing in education, health, and family planning. When extreme poverty rates came down—first in East Asia and then in other parts of the developing world—it became clear that the two-point strategy to make economies grow and enable people to invest in human capital needed a social assistance supplement to help people with disadvantages so severe that they could not benefit from economic opportunities and better social services. This two-and-a-half-point strategy has been working well over the past quarter century, and the end of extreme poverty is in sight. But more people are now at risk of slipping back into poverty because of economic, natural, and health-related hazards. To end extreme poverty by 2030, the approach now needs three complementary components: economic growth, investments in people, and measures to insure against setbacks to families, nations, and regions due to disabilities, recessions, disasters, and disease. In countries that have reduced poverty a lot and those that could do a lot better, a winning game plan for putting a quick end to extreme poverty should be based on a three-point strategy: grow, invest, and insure.