Nepal could eradicate poverty within the next 20 years if its poverty reduction rate continues on its current level of progress, said an Oxford University study published on Monday, citing “social policy investments combined with active civil society engagement” for the Himalayan state’s present success.
Alongside Bangladesh and Rwanda, Nepal has been a “star performer” in reducing poverty, according to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), with researchers showing that poverty has dropped from 64.7 percent of the population in 2006 to 44.2 percent in 2011.
“Countries managed to reduce multidimensional poverty through tackling a range of different deprivations, with no single formula for success emerging from the study," said an OPHI statement.
The OPHI uses the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to measure poverty rates. Unlike regular calculations based on income alone, the MPI is seen as a more holistic approach using 10 indicators such as malnutrition, education and sanitation. If people are deprived in three or more areas, they are identified as "MPI poor".
Of 22 countries having data on MPI poverty over time, 18 reduced MPI significantly, and most reduced multidimensional poverty faster than income poverty, said OPHI.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director Shoko Noda also noted that his institute’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could not reflect the complete picture of poverty and encouraged countries to develop indicators similar to the MPI to paint a clearer picture.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh, poverty rates decreased by 3.2 percentage points per year between 2004 and 2007 and Rwanda by 3.4 percentage points annually from 2005 to 2010. The “star performers” were followed on the list by Ghana, Tanzania, Cambodia and Bolivia, while countries such as Madagscar, Senegal, Jordan and Peru showed no statistically significant reduction in poverty.
India reduced multidimensional poverty significantly between 1998/9 and 2005/6, though at a rate less than a-third of its poorer neighbours.
Nonetheless, the OPHI predicted that India would take another 41 years to eradicate poverty, despite not collecting official data on MPI deprivations since 2005/06.
India, which is home to around 40 percent of the world's one billion people living below the poverty line, cut poverty by an average of only 1.2 percentage points annually between 1999 and 2006, said the study.