The fight against poverty is revealing to the world a real dichotomy. In some countries, large percentages of the population live under extreme conditions, and in other countries poverty is almost nonexistent. Nonetheless, we have come a long way in fighting poverty. Just between 1990 and 2015, over a billion people moved away from the poverty line, which was the lowest recorded in history. We are still far away from getting rid of poverty completely, though. So, the question is : Can poverty be fully eradicated by 2030 as the UN proposed?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at history. In the 1990s, most African countries had the same poverty rates as China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. By the end of 2015, the Asian countries’ poverty rates had decreased by a lot, while the African countries’ had not. Why is this? Many factors have contributed to this shift. For example, Africa’s weak economy and ineffective policies make it extremely difficult to come out of this situation. Most importantly, state capacity plays the biggest role. A weak, corrupt state can never carry out the necessary measures to alleviate poverty. To add to that, many countries don’t even have the intent to solve their situation. An analysis of the poverty rates in Mali shows that it will take another 31 years to eradicate poverty, at the pace they are going at.
The only way several of these countries can take further steps to eradicating poverty, is if the state capacity is strong. This leads to another question: What determines a state’s capacity? According to the World Economic Forum, “In general, states work better when ruling elites are bound by limits on their power.” Since these countries don’t have strong state systems, we can’t depend on them to solve the situation. Many organizations such as WorldBank have taken the lead in lending a hand to these countries and ending poverty. So, the answer to the question is yes, if we all join hands, we can eradicate poverty by 2030.
But, there is something that can really eliminate poverty, not just alleviate it. We’re in a new era where we are living science fiction, so we don’t actually have to be present to make a change. Technology is allowing people to connect to the resources available in their communities to use. Here are some of the ways other organizations are implementing technology:
1. Smart– farming Technology
Research shows that 78% of those who live in rural areas rely on agriculture to put food on their plates. According to RealLeaders, certain organizations are “equipping farmers across sub-Saharan Africa with smart soil sensors that collect data such as humidity, temperature, pH, moisture and nutrient levels, and automatically upload it to the cloud for analysis.” This decreases the chances of crops dying out and increases profit.
2. One device for many
That’s right! As long as each person has a mouse, a group up to 50 people can operate with only one computer. An entire project called ‘The Hole’ is taking play in slums in India, and shows that implementing this technology is cost-efficient and easy to use.
3. Using low cost video to support learning
Countries such as Indonesia are using low cost video cameras to provide opportunities for learning through peers for teachers who receive very little training (if any at all) in impoverished areas.
It is us that has to take the first step to ending poverty. If we all join hands today, we can end poverty sooner.