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Teams to end poverty


Unemployment, under-employment, low-paid jobs, business difficulties are the main causes of poverty. Unemployment and under-employment may be due to a shortage of jobs, but also to inadequacy between jobs offered and people’s qualifications. People who come from low-income families usually find it more difficult to access adequate education and subsequently to find jobs, be self-employed, or to access decently paid employment. Those who are illiterate are doubly disadvantaged, as they can less easily know where and how to look for remunerated activities.

Poor people may be unable to afford transportation costs, thus be limited in their ability to look for a job. Low-income people who have no collateral are considered non-credit worthy by lending institutions and do not get start up funds to establish their own business even if they are fully qualified. Women in some societies cannot even borrow funds by themselves or own property without their husband’s, father’s or brother’s consent. Commodity producers’ and farmers’ income is dependent on trade rules and international commodity rates.

Speculative movements of capital may destroy in a few days decades of economic growth and social progress, throwing employees of companies together with emerging small entrepreneurs into poverty. Malnutrition renders millions of people around the globe less productive. Natural disasters wreck in no time years of patient efforts to create a livelihood and can be fatal for those who have no savings. Lack of access to electricity and other amenities may constitute a major obstacle for income creation.

Bureaucratic rules and laws may hamper business creativity. Excessive competitiveness brought about through liberalisation and de-regulation may knock out poor and fragile entrepreneurs. The cost of childcare may deter unemployed parents who live on social benefits from taking a job if it is not sufficiently paid. A number of precarious, low productivity and low-paid jobs create “working poor”. The magnitude and pattern of economic growth also affect employment and livelihoods.

Literacy, free primary education, other levels of education and vocational training, are the foundation of any strategy to create jobs and livelihoods. Access to credit for the poor, cheap provision of public goods such as electricity, nutrition programmes, free or cheap childcare and other social services can also make a big difference. Setting minimum wages or tax exemption measures, as well as establishing a legal context that unleashes people’s entrepreneurial and creative potential are part of setting an appropriate framework.

Improving the status of women, creating regulatory institutions for financial markets, as well as negotiating favorable international trade rules and agreements helps. Measures to encourage economic growth based on the poorest segments of society are needed as are experience sharing at all levels of societies and between them, and increased and improved international co-operation

More info on poverty
Facts and figures on poverty
Food and water
Social exclusion
Women and poverty
20% of the world population possess 90% of global wealth
United Nations Development Programme
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