Poverty is not just a lack of money, an index tends to demonstrate it

The multidimensional poverty index assesses markers of poverty beyond just income level.

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (PMI) was born from the observation that “poverty must not be reduced to its monetary expression”, as the think tank writes BSI Economics. This was theorized by Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner in economics in 1998. The level of poverty is established according to the absence of “well-being” factors.

This index dismisses the only commonly used indicator, income, which according to the IPM developers provides only a partial picture of poverty. Researchers are replacing it 10 criteria such as movable property owned (television, telephone), the presence or absence of sanitary facilities, schooling, the connection of the household to the electrical network and even the floor of the home.

For the World Bank, explains BSI Economics, “The study of areas such as health, education, vulnerability, lack of power and lack of speech are particularly necessary to understand poverty in all its complexity”.

The result gives a clue, product of the number of poor people by the intensity of this poverty (the average of the number of indices). The closer the IPM is to 1, the greater the poverty.
In 2010, this new index was launched for 104 countries. Poor among the poor, Niger with an index of 0.60 had 15 million poor in 2012. In the second rank, we find Ethiopia and its 78 million poor according to the index.

But many, like the Belgian researcher Francine Mestrum, criticize this index. “The assertion of the multidimensional nature of poverty makes it possible to relegate to the background the question of income and to avoid an analysis of its structural causesshe wrote. An index which, as far as the World Bank is concerned, is compatible with its policy “, adds the researcher.

“It thus becomes perfectly possible to reach satisfactory rates in all non-monetary areas of poverty, without eliminating monetary poverty and without reducing the income gap between the rich and the poor.” Thus, the author implies, one can be proud of policies which in fact have little or no reduction in misery.

In this context, the Planning and Development Commissioner of Ethiopia, Fitsum Assefa Adela Announces that his country's goal is to reduce the level of poverty to 19% of the population over the next ten years. This is one of the main priorities of Ethiopia’s first ten-year plan. However, the commissioner specifies that poverty should not be measured solely on the economic criterion, but by means of the multidimensional index.

It must be said that Ethiopia is the champion of low wages, a shocking argument of its industrial parks which attract textile groups from all over the world.


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