World Bank: coronavirus crisis could push 60 million into “extreme poverty”

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A deserted shopping mall in the city centre of Stockholm is pictured on March 17, 2020, as many activities came to a halt or slowed down due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Fredrik SANDBERG / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by FREDRIK SANDBERG/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

The warning suggests deepening the pessimism among economists about the extent and duration of the fallout from what the bank has described as an “unprecedented crisis”.

The World Bank, which provides loans and grants to the governments of the poorest countries, expected a month ago that year would mark a historic backward step for inequality, with the pandemic “which could cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998”.
In a blog post on April 20 it states that his “best estimate ” was that 49 million people would be forced into extreme poverty, which the bank defines as living on less than $ 1.90 a day.

The worsening outlook is due to the outbreak of the closure of economic activity and the “cancellation of much of the recent progress made in reducing poverty,” said World Bank President David Malpass in a statement.

A recent spate of cases in some countries is also forcing the bank to distribute what it considers the “largest and fastest response to crises” ever. He said his relief efforts have already reached 100 developing countries, which are home to 70% of the world’s population.

The World Bank intends to help vulnerable communities by providing grants and loans to both individuals and businesses, as well as by suspending debt payments for some of the poorest countries in the world. All in all, he promised at least $ 160 billion to fight the virus so far.

Some of the poorest people in the world are already starting to feel pain.

Migrant workers around the world have lost their jobs due to the pandemic that has stopped working in various sectors. As a result, the World Bank estimates that global remittances, or money sent home to families, could drop 20% this year, or about $ 100 billion.
I can't send money home: how a lifeline for the world's poorest is cut due to Covid-19

Tens of millions of people in Africa could become destitute because of the crisis, human rights chiefs warned Wednesday.

“We cannot afford to remain lazily and hope that this most viral and deadly disease will roam Africa, which is home to many of the world’s poorest countries who are simply unable to manage such a pandemic,” United Nations High Commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet and president of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights Solomon Dersso said in a joint statement.

Countries & # 39; huge stacks of debt are turning into disaster
The World Bank he said last month that he expected people in sub-Saharan Africa to suffer more. Currently, there are 39 of the World Bank’s 100 target countries and at least 23 million residents in the region are projected to go to the extreme poverty due to the coronavirus epidemic.
South Asia also risks suffering. In addition to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Bank economists She said last month it was estimated that India, one of the most populous countries in the world, “the biggest change in the number of the poor”, with around 12 million affected.
“The places where the virus is taking the highest toll mainly depend on two factors,” bank analysts write to blog post. “The impact of the virus on economic activity and … the number of people living close to the international poverty line.”

– CNN’s Sarah Dean contributed to this report.

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