“...The United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy; by empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed, and power, and educate themselves; by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach.” – President Obama, 2013 State of the Union address
For the first time in history we have the tools, technologies, and approaches to end extreme poverty and its most devastating corollaries -- widespread hunger and preventable child death -- within two decades. But if we’re going to tackle the greatest challenge known to man, we have to employ a much bigger definition of development to get us there. To that end, USAID is fundamentally changing how we work: harnessing innovation, science and technology, and mobilizing a global community to expand what we thought was possible. The prospect of ending extreme poverty in a generation is now within our reach.
- In the last 15 years, more than 600 million people – ⅓ of the total – have moved out of extreme poverty (that is, living on less than $1.25/day).
- If we accelerate our progress and focus on key turnarounds in some challenging contexts, we believe we can lift 1 billion more people out of poverty by 2030.
This will not be an easy task. We can get there – but only if we come together as a global community in support of this effort.
We can end extreme poverty in two generations:
- By spurring economic growth and connecting people to the global economy, and better engaging fragile states, where we project extreme poverty will become increasingly concentrated in the coming decades;
- By leveraging existing development priorities towards this end – such as ensuring food security, promoting child survival, combating HIV/AIDS, expanding access to renewable energy, and improving education;
- And by inviting new ideas and fresh perspectives to development efforts, to find innovative solutions to our greatest challenges
A New Focus
Over the 20 years from 1990 to 2010, poverty reduction has followed economic growth. Connecting more people to the global economy – through financial inclusion, greater access to markets, and the institutions that promote employment – is thus critical to long-term poverty reduction. Yet, with as much as 80% of the world’s poor projected to live in countries with conflict or high instability by 2025, we must also address the drivers of fragility. This is essential to eliminating extreme poverty: conflict and stagnant economic growth prevent countries from providing employment, delivering essential services, and ensuring basic rights. On average, countries affected by conflict have poverty rates 20% higher than in similar, peaceful countries.
What We've Been Doing
“Helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves...”
Hunger hurts everyone. It cannot be ignored, especially for the 870 million people who go to bed hungry each night around the world. Hunger devastates opportunities for good health, growth, and prosperity. But hunger is not hopeless: It is solvable.
- Through the Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Government is bringing donors, researchers, agricultural innovators, private sector companies and developing countries together to break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Feed the Future aims to improve nutrition for 30 million children, help move 50 million people out of poverty and hunger, and reach 10 million people with new agricultural technologies.
- The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launched at the 2012 G-8 summit, has engaged 70 local and multinational companies and garnered more than $3.5 billion in investment for African agriculture.
- Our energy programs are working to vastly increase energy availability and access in Africa – by 6,000 megawatts, enough to supply 10 million households.
- Our education programs seek to improve the reading skills of 100 million primary school children, with better teaching techniques, materials, curricula, and tests, and strengthen higher education and workforce development programs so young people can find good jobs.
“Saving the world’s children from preventable deaths”
While the past decades have brought remarkable gains which have saved millions of lives, almost 19,000 children under 5 still die every day from largely preventable causes. A child dying anywhere is heartbreaking, 6.9 million children dying a year from preventable causes is unacceptable.
- In 2012, the Governments of Ethiopia, India, and U.S. with UNICEF co-hosted the Child Survival Call to Action, launching a movement to end preventable child death – accelerating progress to drive down child deaths from roughly 7 million per year, to fewer than 2 million by 2035.
- Through A Promise Renewed, a renewed commitment to Child Survival, we are targeting interventions, expanding services, and helping to mobilize a global community to achieve the ambitious, but achievable goal of ending preventable child deaths.
What We Need to Do
Investments in science, technology and innovation have historically led to humankind’s greatest advances, and USAID is harnessing the power of science to bend the curve of development. We are forging innovative public-private partnerships. We recognize the unique opportunity to leverage talent, take risks, and use science to transform more lives than ever before. We must redouble our efforts to engage America’s next generation in development, by building on:
- The Grand Challenges for Development: Saving Lives at Birth, All Children Reading, Powering Agriculture through clean energy, and Making All Voices Count in the fight against corruption.
- Development Innovation Ventures: a venture financing approach that enables entrepreneurs to generate development breakthroughs.
- The Higher Education Solutions Network: development innovation laboratories on campuses nationwide, which engage students and academics in development and ending extreme poverty.
- Meeting the President’s Challenge to End Extreme Poverty
- Getting to Zero and Eliminating Extreme Poverty
- A Right to Land
- Guatemala’s Chronic Undernutrition Crosses Borders
- Catching Ethiopians Before they Fall
- USAID Annual Letter 2013
USAID began with President John F. Kennedy's vision for foreign assistance. Today USAID continues to save lives and advance opportunity around the world.
Last updated: June 11, 2013