Coronavirus Pandemic Could Force 115 Million People Into Extreme Poverty

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Coronavirus Pandemic Could Force 115 Million People Into Extreme Poverty

The World Bank downgraded its perspectives on the effect of the pandemic and warned that up to 115 million people may fall into extreme poverty in 2020 due to the crisis induced by covid-19.

For the World Bank, extreme poverty (defined as those who live on less than 1.9 dollars a day) can increase in a range of between 88 million and up to 115 million people in the world, if the most negative forecast is confirmed.

“In 2020, global extreme poverty is projected to increase for the first time in more than 20 years as a result of the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Bank’s economists warned.

The Washington-based agency’s forecasts have been getting worse as the pandemic progresses and its duration extends. Since its detection in China in December, the new coronavirus has killed more than a million people around the world and has hit the global economy hard. The World Bank estimates that the economy will contract by 5.2% in 2020, the biggest drop in GDP in 80 years.

In May, in the worst scenario outlined, economists predicted that 60 million people could fall into extreme poverty; Already in August, the most pessimistic forecast raised to 100 million the number of people who would enter misery. If the worst forecasts are confirmed, by 2021 almost 150 million people worldwide may fall into extreme poverty, the World Bank said.

Without the hit of the pandemic, experts expected the global rate of extreme poverty to drop from 9.2% in 2017 to 7.9% this year, so extreme poverty “will probably affect between 9.1% % and 9.4% of the world population in 2020, “said the Bank.

The president of the World Bank, David Malpass, also indicated that “preliminary evidence indicates that the crisis is going to increase inequities in the world.” Economist Samuel Freije-Rodriguez -one of the authors of the study- explained to AFP that a person at this level of poverty has access to the “minimum in terms of subsistence.” “In real life, this implies very little access to public services such as electricity, heating or sanitation,” added the Bank expert.