Outdated World Bank Classifications Put 75% of the World’s Poor in Nations Designated as “Middle-Income Countries”, Including the Majority of People Living With HIV/AIDS
Demonstrators Called for Revised MIC Designations to Increase Foreign Aid Eligibility for Poor Countries
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) continues its activism to push for reforms in the way the World Bank classifies “middle-income countries” (MIC) and held another peaceful demonstration on Friday, October 13th outside the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Building upon its “Raise The MIC” global advocacy campaign, which was launched in 2015 with support from over 300 organizations and advocates in 30 countries, demonstrators will call on the World Bank to set the lower limit of the MIC category at or above $3,650 of Gross National Income per capita—equivalent to about $10 per day—to increase poor nations’ access to foreign aid, including HIV/AIDS drugs and other essential medications. The World Bank currently designates MICs as those
Watch this AHF-produced visual breakdown of how the current MIC classification system affects the world’s poorest countries, view this video produced by AHF:
Seventy-five percent of the world’s poor reside in countries classified as middle-income, including the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS,” said John Hassell, AHF’s Regional Director in Washington, D.C. “The current MIC designation covers countries whose average citizen lives just above the poverty line and whose basic necessities are barely met. We are urging the World Bank to revise its methodology so that it more closely aligns with the economic realities of people in the developing world.”
AHF and its partners say that the Bank’s MIC designations—which are frequently used by other global funders and development bodies—translate into inadequate foreign aid for countries suffering from poverty and prevent access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs and other essential medications. As a result of their MIC designation, countries with weak economies face reductions in foreign aid, fewer concessionary development loans and higher prices for essential medicines—including lifesaving antiretroviral therapies for HIV/AIDS. For example, Mexico, Vietnam, and Ukraine pay as much as ten times the cost of commonly prescribed HIV drugs compared to countries classified as low-income, despite high levels of income inequality and greater disease burden. In Eswatini, nearly 1 in 3 adults is HIV-positive; however, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has stopped providing condoms to the country due to its MIC designation.