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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Coronavirus Could Roll Back 30 Years of Global Poverty | Global development

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Half a billion people could be plunged into poverty as economies around the world shrink due to the coronavirus epidemic, a new study has warned.

The level of poverty in developing countries could decline by up to 30 years, research published Thursday by the World Research Institute for Development Economics at the United Nations University.

“The impact will be quite devastating,” said co-author Andy Sumner, professor of international development at King’s College London, who warned of a “poverty tsunami.”

“Covid could lead to a very large increase in global poverty, in fact, it could send the world back 10 years and could send back some areas of 30 years,” said Sumner.

Researchers used World Bank data to measure the effects of reducing the amount of money spent in economies with three levels of poverty – $ 1.90 (£ 1.53), $ 3.20 and 5, $ 50 per day.

The results showed that even if consumption fell by 5% – the smallest impact they had modeled – it would lead to the first increase in income-related poverty since 1990.

With international financial leaders meeting next week, the research has sparked calls for swift action to protect vulnerable populations who will not be able to escape strict quarantine measures like those implemented in Europe.

Oxfam called on world leaders to agree on a $ 2.5 billion economic rescue package to “keep poor countries and poor communities afloat.”

Sumner said urgent action is needed to create a safety net system that would mitigate the immediate blow to loss of income, as well as policies to ensure people are not left in poverty in the long term .


“I don’t think you can wait another 30 years for people to go back to where they were,” said Sumner.

“The time it takes to reduce poverty can be quite long, so governments need to think about how to speed it up anyway, apart from Covid-19, but you’re going to need some pretty bold redistribution programs.”

He said the potential impact of Covid-19 has raised questions about the progress of the sustainable development goals set by the UN in 2015, including on universal access to health care.

Sumner said many developing countries would suffer as a result of their informal economies, with many forced to continue working despite the closings or, as in India, to return to villages where they will have few resources and potentially spread the word. virus.

Human Rights Watch warned in March that a lock in india, where 80% of people work in the informal sector, have left tens of thousands of migrant workers stranded and could worsen hunger and homelessness.

the International labor organizationszation said the 2 billion informal workers worldwide are most at risk as they are forced to continue working in high-risk environments and often live in cramped housing with limited access to sanitation.

The report’s authors based their research on models that calculated whether consumption would decrease by 5%, 10% or 20%.

The worst impacts are likely to be felt in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where the report estimates that 80% of people newly forced into poverty would be found, based on a poverty level of $ 1.90 per day and a 10% contraction.

However, East Asia would have a higher proportion if we understand a broader understanding of poverty levels, which represents 40% of the new poor at the poverty line of $ 5.50 per day.

Oxfam said a new global economic plan should include the cancellation of $ 1 billion in debt owed by developing countries, adding that the same amount should be placed in an international reserve that countries could use to strengthen their systems. health.

“For the billions of workers in poor countries who were already struggling – pulling rickshaws, picking tea or sewing clothes – there are no safety nets like sickness benefits or aid government, “said Danny Sriskandarajah, director of Oxfam GB.

“Our world faces a huge challenge, but we can overcome it if we come together. The World Bank and next week G20 the meetings are an important opportunity for world leaders to collaborate on a joint economic rescue plan to protect the most vulnerable. “

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