Poverty alleviation through social and economic transformation

Paper prepared for the Employment Working Group meeting under the 2020 Russian presidency of the BRICS

The BRICS countries have made substantial progress in alleviating poverty over many decades, spurred on by, on the one hand, rapid economic growth in some cases, and on the other hand, policies, including employment and social protection measures, which have helped lift millions of people out of poverty. Nonetheless, disparities remain. As countries have become richer, relative poverty has emerged as a greater challenge than absolute deprivation (though pockets of the latter do persist). Income inequality is a key challenge for the BRICS. Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 crisis has had a severe impact on economies and labour markets around the word, which threatens to reverse some of the important gains made in recent years. Building on the successes in the BRICS countries in tackling poverty, further efforts are needed in response to both the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the longer-term challenges, especially through more integrated policy approaches, with a strong focus on employment and social protection measures, as a means to further eliminate poverty and reduce income inequality.