Coronavirus is pulling millions back into poverty
World Bank estimates sub-Saharan Africa will see its first recession in 25 years & South Asia its worst downturn in 40 years
- The gains the world was making in fighting poverty are now at grave risk. The World Bank says that for the first time since 1998, global poverty rates will rise.
- By the end of the year, 8% of the world’s population — half a billion people — could be pushed into destitution, largely because of the wave of unemployment brought by virus lockdowns.
- The World Bank estimates that sub-Saharan Africa will see its first recession in 25 years, with nearly half of all jobs lost across the continent.
- South Asia will likely experience its worst economic performance in 40 years.
- Most at risk are people working in the informal sector, which employs 2 billion people who have no access to benefits like unemployment assistance or health care.
- Countries like Bangladesh, which spent heavily on programmes to improve education and provide health care, which help lift families out of destitution, may now be too cash-strapped to fund them.
- The gains now at risk are a stark reminder of global inequality and how much more there is to be done.
- In 1990, 36% of the world’s population, or 1.9 billion people, lived on less than $1.90 a day. By 2016, that number had dropped to 734 million people, or 10% of the world’s population, largely because of progress in South Asia and China.
Some of the biggest gains were made in India, where 210 million people were lifted out of poverty from 2006 to 2016, according to the UN. Since 2000, Bangladesh lifted 33 million people — 10% of its population — out of poverty.