6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where are we?

MDG 1: Poverty
UNDP Afghanistan / Joel van Houdt: Women in a tomato processing factory, income-generation projects for women. Mahmud-i-Raqi district, some 8o kilometres north of Kabul. Afghanistan, Kapisa, November 22, 2012.

Afghanistan does not participate to the International Comparison Program (ICP) and therefore no Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates are available to compute the first indicator “Proportion of population below $1/day poverty”. Poverty monitoring in Afghanistan is based on the “Proportion of the population below the national absolute poverty Line”. The national absolute poverty line for Afghanistan was first set using the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) 2007-08 and it was estimated following the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) approach. According to NRVA 07-08 estimates the proportion of population below the national absolute poverty line in Afghanistan is 36 percent, meaning that approximately 9 million Afghans are not able to meet their basic needs. While 36 percent of the population cannot meet basic consumption needs, there are many more people who are highly susceptible to becoming poor. In particular, more than half of the population is consuming at a level of less than 120 percent of the poverty line. One small, negative shock has the potential to move many individuals into poverty.
The fieldwork of the new NRVA 2011/12 survey was completed in October 2012 and the survey is currently pending its official release. While an update on the poverty situation in Afghanistan will not be available until the release of the NRVA 11-12, preliminary analysis seems to indicate that consumption patterns have not changed significantly since 2007-08, possibly suggesting limited change in both poverty and poverty vulnerability over time. If this result was to be confirmed with the official release of the new survey, the target of reducing the share of population below the poverty line to 24% by 2015 would be impossible to achieve. Concerns regarding the progress in poverty reduction are in line with the findings of other studies. According to the World Bank report ‘Afghanistan in Transition: Looking beyond 2014’ higher level of outside of government budget spending has had a modest effect on poverty, a situation which could deteriorate with transition unless appropriate policies are adopted. Based on these preliminary findings Afghanistan will increasingly face hardship in its attempts to reduce poverty in the coming years which would require focused efforts and specific policy interventions on the part of government and donors.

UNDP's work in Afghanistan

  • UNDP Afghanistan: A woman entrepreneur from Herat displays her food products at the Rural Women Exhibition in Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul.

    Women Entrepreneurs from Herat Link with Kabul-Area Markets

    Women from across the western province of Herat are engaged in a number of entrepreneurship activities that include making handicrafts and jewelry, growing saffron and processingmore

Human Development Index Ranking (HDI)

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption