Covid-19 predicted to push 100 million people into extreme poverty

Published Jun 12, 2020


CAPE TOWN- The social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis is estimated to push up to 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, according to the World Bank.

The newly launched growth forecasts from the June Global Economic Prospects report allows experts to estimate the pandemic’s impact on global poverty.

Two scenarios can be drawn from the forecast, a baseline and a downside. The baseline scenario assumes that the Covid-19 outbreak will remain at levels currently expected and that the economy will recover later this year. The downside scenario assumes that the virus will persist longer than expected, forcing lockdown measures to be maintained or reintroduced.

The greatest proportions of the new extreme poor will most likely be concentrated in countries that are already struggling with high poverty rates and numbers of poor.

The countries where the virus could take its highest toll depends primarily on two factors, the impact of the virus on the economy and the number of people living close to the international poverty line.

The three countries estimated to show the largest change in the number of poor are India with 12 million, Nigeria with 5 million and the Democratic Republic of Congo with 2 million. Other countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, and China are also forecasted to have more than one million people pushed into extreme poverty.

While a small decline in poverty is expected next year under the baseline scenario, projected Covid-19 impacts are likely to be long-lasting.

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