Edited by M. Kabir Hassan and Mervyn K. Lewis
Poverty is a complex socio-economic problem that has existed as long as mankind has existed, and is unlikely to be solved soon. It has a direct effect not only on the life of the individual concerned but also on the community and on the level of material progress and civil development (Usmani, 2000). Many countries, international organizations and non-government bodies have introduced many programs to alleviate poverty, such as by promoting infrastructure development, constructing good roads to make transport and communication easy, promoting agriculture and farming, which are the main sources of income in rural areas, creating employment opportunities by constructing small-scale industries to enable people to get access to jobs, opening market opportunities to enable the rural population to sell their goods at favorable prices, and attempting to establish good governance and effective administration (Singh, 1999). The World Development Report 1990 (World Bank, 1990) recommended a dual approach to reducing poverty involving: a) efficient labor-intensive growth based on appropriate market incentives, physical infrastructure, institutions and technological innovations; and b) adequate provision of social services, including primary education, basic health care and family planning services. In fact, the reality proved that all programs were only temporary, casuistic and not significant.
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