Nearly 2 Million Ecuadoreans Lifted out of Poverty in 6 Years

Source:  TeleSUR
February 6, 2016

rafael correa feb 2015.jpgEcuadorean President Rafael Correa speaks to the gains made the reduction of poverty during his administration, Quito, Ecuador, Feb. 5, 2016. | Photo: Ecuadorean Presidency

Ecuador’s multidimensional poverty rate was reduced to 35 percent in December 2015 from 51.5 percent in December of 2009.

Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Censuses reported Friday that the country’s multidimensional poverty rate dropped 16.5 percent between 2009 and 2015, translating into 1.9 million Ecuadoreans who no longer live in poverty.

“Socioeconomic poverty will be fundamentally solved through changes in the relations of power … through political processes,” said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

Poverty reduction – a major objective of the government

The reduction of both urban and rural poverty has been one of the major objectives of the Correa government since his arrival to the presidency in 2007. The country is working to eliminate extreme poverty completely, having already successfully done so in the capital region.

Jose Rosero, director of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, said the multidimensional poverty rate was reduced to 35 percent in December 2015 from 51.5 percent in December of 2009.

Poverty is a multidimensional and multifaceted

Instead of just raw income or consumption, the multidimensional poverty measures four components: education; work and social security; health, water, and food; as well as housing and living environment.

“Poverty is a multidimensional and multifaceted phenomenon that has many aspects. You cannot describe it in a single or one-dimensional manner. In this regard, the metrics we use to measure it have to correspond to this feature of poverty, which not only focuses on the lack of resources but a lack of welfare or rights such as health, education, housing and employment,” said Rosero.

Ecuador adopted the multidimensional poverty metric two years ago in order to better evaluate the impact of social programs and investments. The metric is also used in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador and is generally viewed by policy makers as a more effective way of measuring poverty.

One thought on “Nearly 2 Million Ecuadoreans Lifted out of Poverty in 6 Years

  1. The persistence of poverty particularly extreme poverty or absolute poverty as opposed to relative poverty in any country is due to a political power structure that permits it to exists.

    The success of the Correa government in Ecuador since 2007 in targeting poverty is a clear example of why the political power relationships in a country makes a critical difference in whether poverty persists or not as a socio-economic reality.

    Further, the multidimensional concept of poverty that several countries including Ecuador embraces in addressing this scourge of humanity is common sensical since poverty pervades the health, education, housing, food and water and other dimensions of its victims.

    There is no doubt that Ecuador’s targeting of poverty in the cited multidimensional areas has played a central role in its success in reducing poverty from 51.5 percent in 2009 to 35 percent in 2015 i.e. a reduction of 16.5 percent or nearly 2 million less Ecuadorians living in poverty now compared to 2009 and 2007 when President Correa assumed the presidency.

    However, to really appreciate the basis for Ecuador’s success in fighting poverty as opposed to talking about it as many governments do, it is primordial to understand two intertwined facts. First, Ecuador’s Citizens’ Revolution which is characteristically anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchy is what creates the political and economic framework that generates the tax and other resources to fund the anti-poverty policies to fight poverty in its multiple dimensions.

    Should the latter fact be in any doubt by anyone, perhaps one should pose the following queries:

    •Why were two million poor Ecuadorians not uplifted out of poverty in the 30 or 40 years prior to 2007 when Correa assumed the Presidency of Ecuador?

    •What made it possible that the Correa led anti-imperialist revolution tackled the vast income-wealth inequality that includes the determined war on poverty that ended extreme poverty for 2 million Ecuadorians between 2009-2015 i.e. in 6 years?

    •Why was it not possible to remove extreme poverty from the lives of even 2 million Ecuadorians in the previous 30 or 40 years before Correa’s presidency began in 2007?

    The answer to those queries is what explains the second basis for the successful policy framework of the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador, namely, there was a political revolution in Ecuador. The latter revolution fundamentally changed the political power relations and consequently the political economy of the South American country in favor of the people of the country particularly the poor.

    The changed political power relationships among other things now had a government that was and is committed to its people particularly the poorest ones as opposed to being committed to the local oligarchy and the imperial empire it serves. This was the case of the previous governments before 2007. Thus, the governments prior to President Correa being servants of the oligarchy and imperialism allowed the rich, the banks and big domestic and local companies to get away with tax avoidance and evasion, to get generous tax holidays, subsidies and other incentives to enrich themselves at the expense of the people who paid these bills for their increasing profits and wealth.

    Consequently, the Correa presidency, namely, the changed political power relationship and the anti-imperialist revolution that it is leading in the economy and other spheres of the Ecuadorian society are the two interconnected planks of the new political economy that enables Ecuador’s successes not only in reducing poverty but also in improving health care delivery, housing, employment, education and economic growth for ordinary folks since Correa’s presidency.

    Indeed, it is reasonable to think that had there been an anti-imperialist and political revolution in Ecuador in the last 30-40 years ago, if one assumes a similar reduction of poverty by 2 million people each 6 years, for 30 years, 10 million people would have exited extreme poverty and for 40 years at the same reduction in poverty, nearly 14 million people would have left extreme poverty behind. The latter number is almost the current population of Ecuador, about 16.5 million since 2015.

    That would be the progress of Ecuador’s revolution with the cited assumption about poverty reduction had the revolution been started 30 or 40 years ago.

    How much prosperity would the people of Ecuador be enjoying with the local oligarchy and imperialism, the creators of poverty and underdevelopment in that country under the control of the peoples’ revolution? The latter is a question always worth thinking about whenever we think about an alternative world not ruled by oligarchs and imperialists. That is what we mean by the motto “Another world is possiblePeace!!

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