Fighting global poverty: a global imperative

Anissa Rieder
Table of contents
Anissa Rieder


Poverty is a multi-layered, cross-border problem with far-reaching social, economic and political consequences. Millions of individuals and families in industrialized and emerging countries are affected by extreme poverty. The fight against global poverty and corresponding measures are not only an important issue from an ethical point of view, but also an essential prerequisite for greater justice and prosperity in the world. In this blog post, we look at the challenges of global poverty and outline a comprehensive strategy to combat it.

The poverty of the world's population at a glance

Before we look at solutions, it is important to understand the nature and extent of global poverty. The concept of poverty does not refer to temporary financial hardship, but to the lack of access to basic necessities such as food, clean water, education, healthcare and a roof over one's head. Poverty is often a vicious circle from which individuals find it difficult to escape in order to meet their most basic needs. The opportunities for social advancement are often limited.

Global poverty in figures

According to the World Bank, almost 9.2% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty in 2019, i.e. on less than USD 1.90 per day. Although considerable progress has been made in the fight against poverty in recent decades, it remains an urgent problem in many regions. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are particularly affected, with a disproportionately high number of people living in extreme poverty.

Causes of poverty

To combat global poverty, we must address its causes. Poverty is often the result of a multitude of complex interactions between economic, social and political factors:

  1. Lack of education: Limited access to quality education fosters persistent poverty by reducing individuals' opportunities for better employment and economic advancement.
  1. Unemployment: High unemployment, especially among young people, contributes to poverty as it leads to a lower household income.
  2. Inequality: Economic inequalities within and between countries can drive people into poverty, as those at the lower end of the income spectrum have limited means to invest in their future.
  3. Healthcare: Inadequate access to healthcare can lead to increased medical costs and loss of productivity, driving families even further into poverty.
  4. Gender inequality: Gender inequalities in education and employment opportunities continue to disproportionately affect women, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

A comprehensive strategy to combat poverty worldwide

Fighting poverty on a global scale is a complex task that requires the combined efforts and resources of a wide range of governments, international war organizations, civil society and individuals. We have compiled a comprehensive list of strategies to tackle this urgent problem:

  1. Access to quality education:
    Education is an effective means of breaking the cycle of poverty. Governments and international organizations should advocate for universal access to quality education, with a focus on marginalized communities.
  2. Promoting employment opportunities:
    Promoting economic growth and job creation is crucial. This includes supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, investing in vocational training and implementing labor market policies to ensure fair wages and job security.
  3. Redistribution of wealth:
    Progressive taxation and social safety nets can help reduce income inequality. Governments should take measures to ensure a fair distribution of wealth and create a safety net for those in need.
  4. Universal healthcare:
    Access to healthcare is a basic human right. Governments should strive to provide affordable and quality healthcare services to all citizens in order to reduce the financial burden of medical expenses.
  5. Empowerment of women:
    The promotion of gender equality is essential for poverty reduction. This includes ensuring equal access to education and employment and tackling problems such as gender-based violence.
  6. Infrastructure development:
    Investments in infrastructure such as roads, electricity and clean water are important for economic development. The expansion of infrastructure can create jobs and provide better living conditions.
  7. Agricultural development:
    In many emerging countries, agriculture plays an important economic role. Supporting small farmers to access resources, technology and markets can increase agricultural productivity and reduce rural poverty.
  8. Microfinance and financial inclusion:
    Access to microfinance and financial services for people on low incomes enables them to set up and expand businesses to increase their economic stability.
  9. Global cooperation:
    Poverty is a global problem that requires international cooperation. Industrialized countries can provide financial aid, share knowledge and promote fair trade practices to support developing countries in their fight against poverty.
  10. Promoting sustainable development:
    Sustainable development practices take into account the long-term impact on the environment and society. They can contribute to poverty reduction by ensuring that economic growth benefits all while preserving our planet for future generations.

Poverty line

The poverty line, often referred to as the poverty threshold, is an important economic indicator used to determine the minimum income an individual or household needs per day to meet basic needs and not live in poverty. This threshold varies from country to country and is updated at regular intervals to reflect percentage changes in the cost of living around the world.

In Germany, the poverty line is usually calculated on the basis of household income and the number of people living in the household. It serves as a benchmark for the economic and social prosperity of the population and for the development of measures to reduce poverty and inequality.

World Bank

The World Bank is a renowned international financial organization that provides financial and technical assistance to emerging economies around the United Nations in proportion to their share of the world's population. Its main mission is to reduce poverty, promote economic development and support sustainable growth in low- and middle-income countries. Founded in 1944, the World Bank has repeatedly played a decisive role in tackling global development problems in the past.

Poverty in all its forms

When we think of "poverty", we usually think of financial hardship - a lack of money or material resources. However, the manifestations of poverty go beyond mere economic deprivation. It is a multifaceted challenge that affects individuals, communities, programs and policies, and even entire nations on many levels.

Combating all forms of poverty

Even if it is discouraging, it is crucial that the population recognizes the complexity of poverty in order to be able to combat it effectively. Tailored strategies are needed for each type of poverty. Here are some examples:

  • Economic poverty can be combated through job creation, training and social safety nets.
  • Social poverty can be tackled through investment in healthcare, education and community support programs.
  • Political poverty requires the strengthening of democratic institutions and the promotion of civic education.
  • Cultural and spiritual poverty can be tackled through cultural preservation and community building initiatives.
  • Ecological and information poverty require the development of infrastructure - from housing to internet connections.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals represent a global commitment to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure universal prosperity. These goals, adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, are a common approach to sustainable development in peace and prosperity, taking into account poor people and the environment. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to address unfinished business.

The three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental

Sustainable development has been a buzzword among politicians and activists around the world for several decades. But what does the implementation of programs and measures really mean? At its core, sustainable development is about mobilizing enough people to ensure the satisfaction of current needs without compromising the satisfaction of the needs of future generations. This concept is based on three interlinked pillars: economic, social and environmental sustainability. Together, they form a framework for holistically addressing global challenges.

Political solutions to end poverty

The fight against poverty is not only an important issue from an ethical point of view, but also crucial for global stability, resource mobilization, economic growth and the general well-being of millions of people. Policy makers around the world have been grappling with the question of how to fight poverty effectively. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, several measures that have been effective in the past can be applied to different situations.

Poverty reduction: strategies and policies fora fairer world

Poverty is a multi-faceted problem that represents a constant challenge for every society. The consequences of poverty are far-reaching and have an impact on health, education, opportunities and general well-being. Combating poverty is not just about increasing prosperity, but also about ensuring equal opportunities for a decent life. Below we present some comprehensive strategies and measures that can pave the way for significant mobilization to fight poverty:

  1. Investment in human capital:
  • Education: Ensuring universal access to quality primary and secondary education can provide people with the means to break out of the poverty cycle. In addition, access to higher education or vocational training can lead to better employment opportunities and higher incomes.
  • Healthcare: Access to affordable healthcare ensures that illness does not lead to financial ruin and that everyone can lead a healthy, productive life.

        2. economic reforms:

  • Job creation: Investing in sectors that create jobs can ensure that more people have a stable income.
  • Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): SMEs often form the backbone of the local economy. Providing them with easy access to loans, training and market opportunities can promote economic growth at grassroots level.

         3. social safety nets:

  • Conditional cash transfer (CCT): These are programs in which the poor receive direct financial support - on condition that they send their children to school or have them vaccinated, for example.
  • Unemployment and incapacity benefits: These benefits serve as a lifeline for people who are temporarily or permanently unable to work.

        4. development of the infrastructure:

  • Rural infrastructure: Investments in rural areas, e.g. in roads, electricity, clean water and sanitation, can lead to an improvement in the quality of life and economic opportunities.
  • Urban Upgrades: Given the global trend towards urbanization, redeveloping slums, improving urban transport and ensuring access to basic services are crucial.

        5. financial inclusion:

  • Access to banking services: By giving everyone, including the poorest, access to banking services, you can give them the opportunity to save, invest and plan for the future.
  • Microfinance: Small loans can enable individuals to set up businesses, boost the local economy and create jobs.

        6. agricultural reforms:

  • Subsidies and training: Supporting agriculture through subsidies for seeds, fertilizers and equipment as well as training in modern farming methods can lead to higher yields and incomes.
  • Market access: It is crucial that farmers have access to markets where they can sell their products at fair prices.

         7. gender equality:

  • Empowerment of women: Equal access for women to education, health services, jobs and decision-making positions can significantly reduce poverty. When women do well, their families and communities do well too.

        8. good governance:

  • Transparent institutions: Reducing corruption ensures that the funds earmarked for poverty reduction also reach the intended groups of people.
  • Inclusive policy design: Policies that take into account the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable, can lead to more effective and equitable outcomes.

        9. ecological sustainability:

  • Sustainable resource management: Training communities in sustainable farming and fishing practices can help secure their long-term livelihoods.
  • Climate change resilience: With the increasing threat of climate change, building infrastructure and systems that can withstand climatic changes is crucial, especially in poverty-stricken areas that suffer the most from the effects of climate change.

        10 Global partnerships:

  • International aid: Although the countries concerned must take the fight against poverty into their own hands, the support of wealthier countries - both financially and in the form of expertise - can speed up the process.
  • Trade policy measures: A fair trade policy can ensure that producers in emerging countries receive a fair price for their goods.


The global fight against poverty is a huge task that requires the joint efforts of governments, organizations and individuals. It should not just be done out of charity, but is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for ending poverty and creating a just and prosperous world. By tackling the root causes of poverty, promoting education, employment, gender equality and sustainable development, we can move closer to the goal of a world without poverty. We must rise to this challenge with vigor and determination for the benefit of humanity and future generations.

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Anissa Rieder writes regularly about personal finance and business. She lives in Hamburg, with her two children and one dog.


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