How to help the poor in a rich man's world

Donors need to be smarter as nouveau riche states leave masses trapped by poverty gap

The World Today Updated 2 October 2020 Published 3 June 2013 3 minute READ

Jon Lidén

Founder and Director, Anthropos Development

We all have a mental map of the world, and when it comes to economic might, that map has remained fairly unchanged: with a couple of notable exceptions, the South is poor and the North generally fairly wealthy.

However, we may have noticed recently that this map is getting a little out of date; everybody is aware of China’s rise, and we have realized that Mexico and Brazil aren’t doing so badly either.

But few people living in the traditionally rich North have fully taken in how dramatically the world is changing and how unrecognizable our global map soon will be: in 2000, 75 countries were listed as ‘low-income’ by the World Bank. This year, 36 countries remain on the list, and by 2020 it may have dwindled to fewer than 20.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.