Colombia’s President announces fall in multidimensional poverty

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has announced a fall in multidimensional poverty, two years after his government implemented a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI-Colombia) that uses the Alkire Foster method.

OPHI began working with the Colombian government’s Ministry of Planning in 2010 to construct the new measure, which underlies firm and binding targets to close the country’s multidimensional poverty gaps. The dimensions and indicators were devised by Colombia to meet its specific needs and public policy priorities in order to inform poverty reduction strategies.

Based on national statistics, the MPI-Colombia showed a drop in multidimensional poverty, from 29.4% in 2011 to 27% in 2012. President Santos said his government had also reduced the income poverty rate from 34.1% to 32.7% in two years, lifting some 1.7 million people out of poverty.

OPHI Co-Founder and Research Associate John Hammock took part in the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Poverty Coordinating Committee where the results were announced. The news was widely covered in the media, both in Colombia (see El Tiempo, El Espectador, La República, PortafolioEl Universal, Semana) and further afield; for example in China (see Xinhua and China Daily).

Hammock earlier gave a presentation on multidimensional poverty measures at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua, which will host a Spanish-language intensive training course to be run by OPHI from 30 August – 7 September 2013.

Colombia is one of a number of countries to have implemented a multidimensional measure that builds on OPHI’s research (for others see here). Building on the flexibility inherent in the AF method, the MPI-Colombia assesses the broader social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions:

  • Household education conditions;
  • Childhood and youth conditions;
  • Labour;
  • Health;
  • Access to household utilities and living conditions.

The five dimensions are equally weighted and use 15 indicators. Find out more.