The world is experiencing a tipping point in its fight against poverty. By 2022, more than half of the world’s people living in extreme poverty will be living in fragile states, according to projections by World Data Lab. There are currently 39 fragile states that the World Bank classifies as “countries with high levels of institutional and social fragility” and “affected by violent conflict.” They are home to almost 1 billion people, 335 million of which lived in extreme poverty in 2020. Projections by the World Data Lab’s World Poverty Clock suggest that by 2030, there will be 359 million people living in extreme poverty in today’s fragile states, representing 63 percent of the world’s poor (see Figure 1). This means that while most stable countries can anticipate the end of extreme poverty, more than a third of the population in fragile states will live in extreme poverty.

Geographically, poverty is increasingly concentrated in Africa and success in ending poverty globally will largely depend on African fragile states. Today, four of the top 10 countries with the poorest people are fragile states, while the other six countries are considered relatively stable. By 2030, five fragile states in the top 10 and the top 2 will both be states that are currently experiencing fragility and conflict: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

By 2030, non-fragile states will inch closer to a reality where extreme poverty is history, yet fragile states will have more people in extreme poverty than ever before. This vulnerability in fragile states has long-term consequences. Fragile states, therefore, need to be a priority not just in the humanitarian context, but also for longer-term development.

Read the full article about the fight against poverty by Jasmin Baier, Marina Buch Kristensen, and Søren Davidsen at Brookings.