After more than six decades of intensive effort to end global poverty and an investment of $2.5 trillion by the rich nations of the world, 2.7 billion people still live on $2 a day or less - a number even greater than the total population of the planet when the effort began around 1950. Although huge advances have been made in healthcare and, to a slightly lesser degree, in education, the modest success of economic development efforts has brought few if any meaningful benefits to the world's poor.
In the view of Mal Warwick, the reasons for this lack of success are many, but several stand out. Anti-poverty efforts have almost exclusively been imposed from the top down, usually focusing on building an urban middle class, and these efforts have been hampered by three seemingly insurmountable obstacles: a lack of adequate funding, the failure of even the most successful efforts to achieve scale and the difficulty of delivering services to the often isolated rural villages where the majority of the world's poor are living. By tapping the virtually unlimited resources of the private sector, existing businesses and social entrepreneurs can deliver income-generating products and services to hundreds of millions of $2 a day customers - and make handsome profits in the process.
SPEAKER: Mal Warwick
Co-Author, "The Business Solution to Poverty"