On Saturday, October 17, 2020, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Board Chairperson of Susukuu, the 49 year-old Poverty Alleviation NGO, called upon the people of Liberia and the rest of the world to take non- violent actions now to end The Poverty Pandemic. As poor people have a poor chance of surviving under any disease attack, Dr. Tipoteh maintained that it is of highest importance to end The Poverty Pandemic now because this is the only way to stop The Corona Pandemic. In commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Dr. Tipoteh made his Call through the national media and the international media, know as the social media.
Dr. Tipoteh observed that the attention of the people of Liberia and the rest of the world has been drawn to the Corona Pandemic, which has surged to 40 million cases and more than 1 million deaths, while the necessary and sufficient attention is not being given to ending The Poverty Pandemic. He stated that The Corona Pandemic can be stopped only if the necessary and sufficient attention were to be given to ending The Poverty Pandemic.
In making his case for giving primacy to ending The Poverty Pandemic now, Dr. Tipoteh presented evidence as follows: 1. two-thirds of the world’s population live on less than USD10 a day (World Bank); 2. half of the world’s population live on less than USD2.50 a day (UNDP); 3. one-tenth of the world’s population live on less than USD1.90 a day (official poverty line) (World Bank); 4. 80 million people have no access to adequate food, while hunger remains the main source of deaths (WHO); 5. over 75 million people have no access to safe drinking water (UNDP); 6. nearly 2 billion people have no access to electricity (UNDP); 7. 22,000 children die every day because they are poor. and 8. in Liberia, two-thirds of the children who should be in school are not in school.
Dr, Tipoteh noted that there is lack of interest on the part of “the powers that be” to give primacy to ending The Poverty Pandemic, as it takes only USD60 billion to end extreme poverty in the world. This amount, Dr. Tipoteh pointed out, is 25 per cent of the income of the world’s top 100 billionaires (OXFAM). Furthermore, in terms of the posture of “the powers that be “, Dr, Tipoteh drew the attention of the people to the anti-corona virus stimulus packages of over USD5 trillion and Euro2 trillion in the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU), respectively, Dr. Tipoteh reminded the people about the two USD800 billion each bail-out packages under the governments of former President Bush (the Son of the earlier former President Bush) and former President Obama, respectively, as responses to the impact of the Great Recession of 2008.
Ostensibly, Dr. Tipoteh observed, the the stimulus packages are launched to help the poor, but “business as usual” prevails and the packages end up helping the rich instead of the poor. Dr. Tipoteh called upon the people to witness the case of the CEO of Goldman Sachs, the Investment Bank. where it was revealed in his testimony to the USA Congress that he received a bonus of USD21 million for his good work done in the face of the Great Recession of 2008. Dr. Tipoteh also mentioned the case of President Trump’s friend in the construction business who received USD750 fro the anti-corona pandemic stimulus package (Washing Post).
Alternatively, Dr. Tipoteh brought to the attention of the people the posture of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the world’s second largest economy, in terms of GDP, next to the USA. Since the “Opening Up” of the PRC four decades ago, the PRC poverty rate has declined from 80 per cent to less than 5 per cent (World Bank). With the primacy in economic policy given to production, the PRC achieved double-digit economic growth rates within the economic growth with economic development posture such that the income gap between the rich and the poor was narrowed considerably.
Dr. Tipoteh observed that while the USA and the EU were struggling to achieve positive economic growth rates, given the impact of the Great Recession of 2008, the PRC managed to achieve a high positive economic growth rate of 7.8 per cent. Now, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook, has reported a 4.4 per cent decline in world economic growth for 2019, the PRC is expected to have economic growth rates of 3.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
With the “America First” posture of the USA government, the PRC government, according to Dr. Tipoteh, is posturing an “Every Country First” position to emphasize the indispensability of inclusivity rather exclusivity in the drive to end the Corona Pandemic and improve the world economy. Dr. Tipoteh pointed out that the performance of President Trump at the 2020 Virtual United Nations General Assembly was of an exclusive nature while that of President Xi was inclusive, reflecting global convergence. given the global preference for inclusivity over exclusivity in attending to global problems.
Dr. Tipoteh said that he had the opportunity to observe the PRC poverty eradication experience first-handedly when he served as the Chairperson of the Group at the Africa-PRC Development Experience Sharing hosted by the PRC Poverty Alleviation Center nearly a decade ago. Dr. Tipoteh ended his International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Statement by calling once again upon the people to take non-violent actions now to end The Poverty Pandemic and stop The Corona Pandemic. because ending the Poverty Pandemic is the only way to stop The Corona Pandemic. Finally, Dr. Tipoteh pointed out that a poor person is in the worse situation when faced with any disease than any person who is not poor; therefore, let us work together to end poverty now.