Global health funders have historically focused their aid on countries with the lowest per capita incomes, on the assumption that that’s where most of world’s poor people live. In recent years, however, many large developing countries achieved rapid growth, lifting them into the ranks of the so-called middle-income countries, or MICs, even though they are still home to hundreds of millions of very poor people. Andy Sumner has called the poor people in the MICs a “new bottom billion”, as distinct from the bottom billion in poor and fragile states that Paul Collier wrote about in a popular 2007 book.
In this week’s Wonkcast, I ask Amanda Glassman, a CGD research fellow and director of our global health policy program, how global health funders should respond to the emergence of the new bottom billion. Should money that now goes to the world’s poorest countries be reallocated to reach poor people who happen to live in the new MICs? Are there other ways that the global community can help? Amanda’s answers draw on the findings of a new working paper she wrote jointly with Sumner and Denizhan Duran, and an accompanying policy brief.