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October 2023 Is Community Economic and Development Month


Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. Our members promote economic and community development and reduce poverty in underserved communities through training, well-paying jobs, and access to financial management institutions. Projects range from providing people with equipment to vocational training. Our members work to strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.


Unemployment, underemployment, lack of economic opportunity, lack of appropriate training, and the absence of social safety nets lie at the core of poverty. For the poor, labor is often the only asset available to improve well-being. Creating productive employment opportunities is essential for reducing poverty and achieving sustainable economic and social development, as well as providing income security and empowerment, especially for women, people with disabilities, youth, and the extremely poor.


Like education and health strategies, generating income and creating opportunities for a productive workforce and entrepreneurship are essential for reducing poverty. Consider these facts:

  • Every 1% increase in agricultural income per capita reduces the number of people living in extreme poverty by between 0.6% and 1.8%.

  • Studies find strong evidence that access to microcredit leads to reduced vulnerability, in the sense of a lower threat of fluctuations in income or consumption.

  • In Nigeria, studies show that a mere 1% investment in human resources, such as education and training, will lead to more than a 66% decrease in poverty.

  • Women in low-value-added sectors lack the skills to access higher value-added sectors. As shown in countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia, an increase in vocational training is a precondition for countries to make the transition from low to high value-added production.

Tremendous progress has been made to reduce global poverty. According to the World Bank, 1.92 million people lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1990 compared to only 1 million in 2011. In 2015, several Millennium Development Goal targets were met. While substantial progress was made in many areas, pressing global needs still remain.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, an updated development agenda outlines remaining concerns:

  • Almost 202 million people were unemployed in 2013; 74.5 million of whom were young people, ages 15-24.

  • Agriculture is the main source of income and employment for the 70% of the world’s poor who live in rural areas.

  • The gender gap in employment persists, with a 24.8 percentage point difference between men and women in the employment-to-population ratio in 2012.

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