The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty by the end of 2020, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction, The World Bank unveiled in a report on Thursday.
Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic that compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing the progress of poverty reduction, according to the report.
World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 a day, which is likely to affect between 9.1 percent and 9.4 percent of the world’s population in 2020, according to the report.
“The pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4 percent of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty. In order to reverse this serious setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labour, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors. World Bank Group support—across IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA—will help developing countries resume growth and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 as they work toward a sustainable and inclusive recovery”, said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
The report also showed that many of the newly impoverished will be in countries that already have high poverty rates, while a number of middle-income countries will see significant numbers of people slip below the extreme poverty line, as about 82 percent of the total will be in middle-income countries.
Despite the UN’s sustainable development goals target ending poverty by 2030, the report stressed that the convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the pressures of conflict and climate change will put the goal of ending poverty by 2030 beyond reach without swift, significant and substantial policy action, the World Bank said, estimating the global poverty rate to be about 7 percent by 2030.