World Bank: Pandemic to push over 115 million people into extreme poverty

A report by the World Bank has noted that over the past 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has harmed the poor and vulnerable the most, and it is threatening to push millions more into poverty.

This year, the World Bank said, after decades of steady progress in reducing the number of people living on less than $1.90/day, COVID-19 will usher in the first reversal in the fight against extreme poverty in a generation.

The report said the latest analysis warns that COVID-19 has pushed an additional 88 million people into extreme poverty this year – and that figure is just a baseline.

“In a worst-case scenario, the figure could be as high as 115 million. The World Bank Group forecasts that the largest share of the ‘new poor will be in South Asia, with Sub-Saharan Africa close behind. According to the latest Poverty and Shared Prosperity report, ‘many of the new poor are likely to be engaged in informal services, construction, and manufacturing – the sectors in which economic activity is most affected by lockdowns and other mobility restrictions,’” the Bretton Woods Institution said.

Those restrictions – enacted to control the spread of the virus, and thus alleviate pressure on strained and vulnerable health systems – have had an enormous impact on economic growth.

The June edition of the Global Economic Prospects, put it plainly: “COVID-19 has triggered a global crisis like no other – a global health crisis that, in addition to an enormous human toll, is leading to the deepest global recession since the Second World War.”

It forecast that the global economy as well as per capita incomes would shrink this year – pushing millions into extreme poverty.