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Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger


Guyana has made good progress towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The country has met the target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, and has improved its performance in reducing poverty and increasing employment.

The proportion of the population living in extreme poverty has declined from 28.7 percent in 1993 to 18.6 percent in 2006.  In order to meet the MDG target for poverty reduction, the extreme poverty rate must be reduced by a further 4 percentage points by 2015.

The overall unemployment rate fell from 11.7 percent in 1992 to 10.7 percent in 2006.  The female unemployment rate declined from 18.1 percent in 1992 to 13.9 percent in 2006, and the percentage of youths who constitute the employed labour force increased from 8.7 percent to 15.8 percent over the same time period. Achieving full and productive employment for all is an effective tool to improve living conditions and to eliminate extreme poverty. Government has focused on increasing the number of jobs available, and importantly, on empowering job-seekers to adequately ill the jobs created through training initiatives.  The main priorities for the Government in its efforts to boost employment for vulnerable individuals are to improve the system of matching of jobs to available workers, reinforce linkages between education, training and the labour market, and to more effectively measure progress in job creation.

Nutrition levels have improved. Malnutrition among children was 11.8 percent in 1997, and in 2008, data showed that 6 percent of under-five children in 2008 experienced mild to moderate malnutrition, and less than 1 percent suffered severe malnutrition. The pace of the decline in the proportion of the population suffering from hunger has resulted in early achievement of this MDG target, and has been accomplished by a range of programmes targeting the nutritional status of vulnerable groups. These include the Grow More Food campaign focused on improving food security, the Basic Nutrition Programme, the national School Feeding Programme and breast feeding support strategies.
The key priorities in maintaining the progress made in nutrition lie in reaching the most vulnerable groups and in designing sustainable strategies.
The table below shows the targets and indicators.

Table 1: MDG targets and indicators

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Targets Indicators for monitoring progress
Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day 1.1 Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day1
1.2 Poverty gap ratio
1.3 Share of poorest quintile in national consumption 
Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people 1.4 Growth rate of GDP per person employed
1.5 Employment-to-population ratio
1.6 Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
1.7 Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total
Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger 1.8 Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
1.9 Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy



"The Guyana Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Progress Report 2011 is a key monitoring instrument to access various socio-economic policies.  The overall aim of the Report is to track and analyse the country's progress towards the achievement of the MDGs, but on a wider level, it serves as a report on national efforts to reduce poverty.  The findings of the Report are expected to influence Government processes, decision-making and resource mobilization and allocation efforts.  Furthermore, the key findings as a means to both enlighten and heighten development discussions among all national stakeholders, including Guyana development partners."


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“The advantage of economic growth is not that wealth increases happiness, but that it increases the range of human choice.”1 These words were written in 1955 by Arthur Lewis, a Caribbean scholar and Nobel laureate in economics who made an important contribution to the development debate and development policy in the Caribbean and elsewhere. It is a profoundly people-centred approach to economic growth that prefigured the later debates on human development.


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