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Asia continues to be the continent most responsible for declines in global poverty, thanks to its recent immense economic growth and social transformation, according to a new report.

The report, released in Beijing on Tuesday by international organization the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), reveals the vast majority of developing Asian nations have reduced the number of citizens living in extreme poverty, marked at earning less than $1.90 a day, to below 2% in 2019.

China, the region’s and the world's most populous nation, is largely responsible for Asia's overall poverty decline. 

The country has reduced poverty from 5.7% in 2015 to 0.6% in 2019 and is expected to eliminate absolute poverty by the end of 2020. According to the report, rural poverty has dropped by a fifth since 2012, and, since the late 1970s, over 700 million citizens have been lifted from poverty entirely. 

"China set a good example of how a committed and persistent government can transform economic development into an increased quality of human life," BFA Chairman and former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said to the forum during a video message, according to CTGN News

Ban added: “[China will be] the first developing country to reach the ‘No Poverty’ goal of the UN Global Goals. Such a remarkable achievement is a miracle in human history — it means that one-fifth of the world's population will now be secure with food and necessities and have access to basic welfare.” 

While the report noted most Asian countries had increased social protection measures to benefit the poorest people, experts claim the region has much to improve across infrastructure, public services, and ensuring disadvantaged groups, like individuals living with disabilities, are not left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also been acknowledged as the single largest risk factor to future poverty reduction progress.

The World Bank claims COVID-19 could see 38 million people in East Asia and the Pacific trapped in poverty. A separate report by the International Labour Organization, meanwhile, shows millions of Pacific workers with previously stable incomes from the tourism sector are at risk of sliding into poverty. 

"In many Asia and Pacific countries, more than three in four workers in the tourism sector are informal jobs, leaving them especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis," the report claims.

BFA agrees, revealing almost half the globe's renewed poverty population is projected to be concentrated in South Asia.


Demand Equity

Asia Is Leading the World on Poverty Reduction: Report

By Madeleine Keck