Data and measurement vital to ending poverty - CNBC Africa

Data and measurement vital to ending poverty

Special Report

by Trust Matsilele 0

The World Bank says data and measurement is vital to ending poverty. PHOTOS: Flicker/World Bank

Data and measurement are vital to achieving the World Bank’s goals of ending poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity.

The World Bank Group report titled ‘Policy Research Report 2014: A Measured Approach to Ending Poverty and Boosting Shared Prosperity: Concepts, Data, and the Twin Goals’, said deliberate effort to incorporate technology with mapping techniques could increase the quality data collection.

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“Geocoding, imputation, and mobile devices and tablets all have an important role to play. Tools such as Survey Solutions, a suite of data collection software and resources developed by the World Bank, are making it possible for countries to deliver high-quality data more easily,” said the group.

The group added that to achieve its goals, data systems at the country level needed to be strengthened and data should be collected more frequently to better inform national policy and to help international partners identify gaps and prioritize actions.

The report also called for better collection of comparable household survey data, which provide information on people’s consumption or income.

The report added that data and measurement were pivotal to the assessment of the bank’s twin goals and their achievement.

Kaushik Basu, World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist said extreme inequality prevailing currently in the world was leaving many people deprived not only of basic livelihood, but basic rights.

“To attend to this urgent problem of our times, we needed a practical way of measuring inclusive growth that is applicable the world over. The twin goals adopted by the World Bank Group last year is a response to this,” said Basu.

Basu added that the group could not credibly campaign around these goals without explaining the theory and accompanying measurement challenges.

“By doing just that, this report seeks to provide a richer basis from which individual countries can take up the goals and adapt them in ways that are most relevant to their circumstances.”

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The report also highlights the importance of complementary data including population growth rates and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) indices, which are used to make cross-country comparisons, such as those updated earlier this year by the International Comparison Program.

The primary purpose of collecting data on extreme poverty and shared prosperity should be to inform policy at the national level, the report states.

The report says substantial progress has been made in reducing global poverty.

“Between 1990 and 2011, the number of people living in extreme poverty has halved, to around one billion people, or 14.5 percent of the world’s population.”

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