Looking toward the future, there is some really good news for the developing world…but also some really bad news.
First the good. The often-cited statistic of over 1.3 billion people in extreme poverty worldwide has been updated, and it’s gotten a lot smaller. Nearly half a billion smaller! Researchers from the Brookings Institution estimate a total of less than 900 million people were living in extreme
poverty in 2010, and they believe the number could plummet even further, to under 600 million, by 2015.
From the official Brookings report: “Poverty reduction of this magnitude is unparalleled in history; never before have so many people been lifted out of poverty over such a brief period of time.” Praise God!
The rapidly growing economies in the developing world demonstrate that there really is hope for the poor. Families struggling to survive on less than $1.25 a day don’t have to live that way forever. Our efforts to promote education, employment, and self-sufficiency among the poorest of the poor are a worthwhile investment.
But while the Brookings study offers a bright outlook, there are also signs of an imminent crisis that could, at least temporarily, worsen the plight of the poor. A surge in food prices – higher than the prices during the 2008 food crisis – has raised fears of inflation, food riots, and increasing hunger among the poor. The global cost of wheat, for example, has doubled since last June, while sugar is at a 30-year high.
What does this mean for Cross International? Simply that we must be hopeful, yet vigilant. No one can predict exactly what tomorrow will bring, but we believe God is faithful, and we are committed to our mission to serve and love the poor, remembering that the ultimate solution to the troubles of this life is only found in the gospel.