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Covid-19 Could Push Half A Billion People Into Poverty

According to one estimate, 420-580 million people worldwide could be pushed into poverty, with as much as 240 million of them living in the East Asia and Pacific region.

Boris Sullivan

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Charity group Oxfam has warned that a recession caused by Covid-19 could push an extra half a billion people into poverty – 8 percent of the world’s population – unless urgent action is taken. 

A global recession could reverse up to three decades of improvements in living standards and, according to one estimate, push 420-580 million people worldwide into poverty. The World Food Program, has warned that COVID-19 will likely double the number of people suffering from acute hunger, to 265 million.

  • COVID-19 could spark a global recession, reversing up to three decades of improvements in living standards.
  • According to one estimate, 420-580 million people worldwide could be pushed into poverty.
  • It’s vital that governing bodies and world banks work together to support the countries than are unable to support themselves, write two former world leaders and two economists.

The most serious scenario involves a 20 percent fall in income which would result in an additional 548 million people earning less than the World Bank poverty threshold of $5.50 per day.

Poverty rate increased from 7.2 percent to 9.8 percent

Between 2015 and 2018, the poverty rate in Thailand increased from 7.2 percent to 9.8 percent, and the absolute number of people living in poverty rose from 4.85 million to over 6.7 million. The increase in poverty in 2018 was widespread – occurring in all regions and in 61 out of 77 provinces.

Although lockdowns are being eased in many places, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide recently reached its highest level yet, while the pandemic’s devastating economic toll continues to mount as new epicenters arise in the emerging and developing world.

According to one estimate, 420-580 million people worldwide could be pushed into poverty by the global recession

We are at a critical moment, because the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are facing economic and public-health emergencies that demand immediate action. A diverse group of middle-income economies need help, too. Together, these countries represent nearly 70% of the world’s population and account for approximately one-third of global GDP.

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