COVID-19 pushes 60m persons into extreme poverty – World Bank

The World Bank Group warns that the gain in recent years in terms of extreme poverty reduction could be reversed with the outbreak of Coronavirus disease, COVID-19 by adding 60 million people into extreme poverty.

The Bank’s President David Malpass disclosed this in a press statement in Washington on Tuesday, stressing the need to support the most vulnerable countries and businesses.

He said: “The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty – erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation.”

By definition, extreme poverty is a failure to consume above $1.90 daily by an individual.

According to World Bank data in 2015 10 percent of the world’s population or 734 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day. That’s down from nearly 36 percent or 1.9 billion people in 1990.

Since 1998, the extreme poverty rate has been on the reduction. However, with the pandemic this year, the world will see an increase in the number of people who will fall into the extreme poverty trap, many analysts had said.

To avoid such massive extreme poverty occurrence, the Bank announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 aimed at 100 developing countries home to 70% of the world’s population.

According to Mr. Malpass, “The World Bank Group has moved quickly and decisively to establish emergency response operations in 100 countries, with mechanisms that allow other donors to rapidly expand the programs. To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery.”

According to the statement, The Bank Group’s operations in 100 countries aim to save lives, protect livelihoods, build resilience, and boost recovery.

In earlier April, the World Bank announced N31.2 billion ($82 million) to support Nigeria’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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