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The extent of poverty and inequality in the world remains enormous, and reducing it remains a central policy priority of our time. The United Nations have put it at the core of their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which they pledge to “leave no one behind”. Over the past 25 years, there has been a considerable reduction in extreme poverty and between-country inequality. However, extreme poverty remains high in sub-Saharan Africa and a large part of the world's population cannot benefit from the social and economic achievements of recent decades. Disadvantaged people are faced with obstacles daily, in education, on the labor market, in political and legal representation. To ensure that equal opportunities and the right to a dignified life are not reserved to the wealthy sections of the population, we must ask uncomfortable questions and test unconventional approaches.