The World Bank has said that more than a third of the world’s poorest people live in Nigeria, India and Democratic Republic of Congo, even as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes about 100 million people into extreme poverty.
Those who live on less than $1.90 per day are categorised as being in extreme poverty.
The bank, which, on Tuesday, hinted at the possibility of a global economic rebound in 2021, warned that the number of people living in extreme poverty would remain unchanged in the ensuing year.
According to the World Bank: “Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of Congo– three countries which we project are home to more than a third of the world’s poor—are predicted to have per capita growth rates in real GDP of –0.8 per cent, 2.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively. With population growth rates of 2.6 per cent, 1.0 per cent and 3.1 per cent, this is hardly enough for sustainable decreases in the poverty headcount.”
The bank said that while it had projected in April that the pandemic might push between 40 and 60 million into extreme poverty, the new reality showed that the lockdown measures employed by countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 might force as many as 100 million people into extreme poverty.
The financial institution noted that while its Global Economic Prospects (GEP) forecasts showed that global economic output would increase by about 4 per cent in 2021, the poverty forecasts suggested that the number of people living in extreme poverty would remain unchanged between 2020 and 2021.
This, the bank explained, would be due to the sluggish growth in the countries with the most poor.
Earlier, the World Bank had predicted that sub-Saharan Africa might be the worst hit but noted that “the new GEP forecasts give a particularly sobering picture for India, which is home to many of the world’s poor. As a result, though the picture is broadly unchanged for sub-Saharan Africa compared to our last update, South Asia may see a larger increase in the number of poor as a result of COVID-19. A big caveat to this finding is that the latest poverty estimates we have from India are from 2011-12.”
The World Bank had on Monday, forecast a 5.2 per cent slide in the global economy this year, describing the development as “the deepest global recession in decades.”
According to the financial institution: “The COVID-19 pandemic has, with alarming speed, delivered a global economic shock of enormous magnitude, leading to steep recessions in many countries. The baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 per cent contraction in global GDP in 2020—the deepest global recession in eight decades, despite unprecedented policy support.
“Per capita incomes in the vast majority of emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink this year, tipping many millions back into poverty. The global recession would be deeper if bringing the pandemic under control took longer than expected, or if financial stress triggered cascading defaults.”
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