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COVID-19 pushed 115 million people into extreme poverty – World Bank

For the first time in over two decades, global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The World Bank, in a statement on Wednesday, said the pandemic compounds conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress.

The bank estimated that an additional 88 million to 115 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.

The estimation may rise to 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction.

The biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report noted that extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 a day), is likely to affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world’s population this year.

This would represent a regression to the rate of 9.2% in 2017.

Before the pandemic, poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020.

World Bank Group President David Malpass predicted that coronavirus and global recession may cause over 1.4% of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty.

Malpass said to reverse the setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries must prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labor, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors.

“World Bank Group support – across IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA – will help developing countries resume growth and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 as they work toward a sustainable and inclusive recovery”, he assured.

The report added that many of the new poor will be in countries that already have high poverty rates.

It estimated that a number of middle-income countries will see significant numbers of people (about 82%) slip below the extreme poverty line.

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