Over the years, many nations especially developing nations otherwise known as Third World Countries have recorded an economic growth which many people especially financial experts described as “paper growth” that has no reflection on the lives of its people.
There is no doubt that extreme poverty remains blight on the lives of hundreds of millions of families and communities around the world, despite the interventions of many countries considering their peculiar challenges.
Third world countries mostly in Africa and Asian continents have to face with the challenges of poverty, inequality, disease and lack of opportunity for human capacity development, with their leaders lacking in political will or capacity to make the much desire change that would uplift the standard of living of their people. These had no doubt contributed to the socioeconomic stagnation of its citizens.
Former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala last year told Nigerians that the economy is growing at 7 percent, noting also that the rebasing of the economy had placed Nigeria at the top of the ranking of largest economies in Africa, followed by South Africa, thus making a choice destination for foreign direct investment.
Despite the giant efforts of the then government, the alarming rate of poverty was on the increase, with financial experts claiming that the growth which was not inclusive was however not targeted at eradicating poverty, but rather increasing it and empowering some few people who are close to the corridors of government.
Meanwhile, the then Coordinating Minister of the Economy was physically abused by some angry youths at an official function in Abuja where the youths were not happy with the unemployment figure dished out by the Minister, as they claimed that the figure she mentioned was untrue and does not reflect on the reality on ground.
Worried by this, the International Labour Organization, ILO, estimated that 780 million working women and men, representing one third of total employment in developing countries remains in poverty because they are not able to earn enough to lift themselves and their families from above $2 a day poverty line.
The World labour body in its 2015 World Poverty Day revealed that between 2015 and 2030, 570 million young women and men will join the world’s workforce mainly in Africa and South Asia.
ILO noted that further quarters of the developing world’s workers are living on between $2 and $4 a day and this group of near poor people are constantly at risk of slipping back into poverty, should they be unable to work, for example as a result of ill health.
They noted that decent jobs are key to ending poverty in its most extreme forms and transforming the lives of millions, admitting that it requires enormous challenge to create enough decent work opportunities to meet the goal.
Moreover, many living in poverty suffers additional forms of discrimination whether based on gender, ethnicity or other grounds and the persistence of such discrimination block efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
The Director General of ILO, Guy Ryder, in a message to commemorate the day encouraged leaders of developing nations to device a means of salvaging the situation, suggesting inclusive growth and political and economic empowerment of the people.
With the theme, “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination” the body reechoes the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in September at the UN World Summit.
“As we look ahead, let us keep in mind that together we can end extreme poverty by 2030, but not through business as usual, as the current trend of decelerating growth must be quickly reversed by the decision making bodies. The evidence shows that growth alone is not enough, while living up to the commitments means giving equal value to policies and action that also tackle the challenges of unemployment, underemployment and acute vulnerability, and the denial of voice and rights.
“We made a commitment that between now and 2030, we would work assiduously to end poverty and hunger across the world, also combat inequalities within and among countries, build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; protect human rights and promote gender equality and provide opportunity for the empowerment of women and girls,
“We are also committed to ensuring lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We equally resolved to also create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.”
However, deliberations at the just concluded Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, 2015, centered on the theme “Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability, with the experts proffering solutions on the way out especially in transferring the economic from paper to reality.
The summit facilitated stakeholders’ discussions/agreements on how best to achieve competitiveness and inclusive growth in a sustainable way, through measurable outcomes as well as to push for permanent structural changes that would allow inclusive growth.
Despite the absence of the economic team as ought to have been set up by the President, the experts from different field of endeavour were able to highlight specific recommendations on how to create jobs, dismantle the pillars of corruption, establish and build upon pillars of sustainable growth and development as well as align home-grown long-term development agenda with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, that will take effect from January 2016.
However, the ILO in support of the moves by the individual developing countries pledged to support the efforts of the most hit nations in eradicating extreme poverty, but demanded for a political and economic action by countries and the international community to achieve the result.
“Ending discrimination in all its forms in the workplace and beyond must be a part and parcel of strategies for building inclusive societies on terms that meet the criteria of social justice.
“Discrimination prevents millions from establishing a foothold in secure and adequately rewarded jobs. Not only is this unjust and a violation of human rights, it is also a waste of much needed human talent and endeavour. Respecting human rights, including fundamental principles and rights at work, is an essential foundation for poverty-eradicating sustainable development.
Guy Ryder stressed that the 2030 Agenda commitments made to protect human rights and promote gender equality by all parties will need to be pursued with unrelenting vigour.
“The ILO is ready to take up its responsibilities with the UN family to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all as called for in Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda. We bring our Decent Work approach to the challenges of this and other Sustainable Development Goals.
“Along with jobs and rights, the Decent Work approach also embraces social protection, providing a buffer when people are unable to work and earn sufficient income to stay out of poverty, as well as a floor that prevents the resurgence of poverty.”
However, the ILO has among other challenges highlighted end to poverty as one of its seven centenary initiatives to mark its 100th Anniversary in 2019. “Our work through this initiative will shape our Organization’s efforts to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” He said.