The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed global poverty levels to an all-time high.
According to the World Bank’s The Poverty and Shared Prosperity report, global extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years owing to the disruptions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, armed conflict and Climate change.
“For more than two decades, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in a generation, the quest to end poverty has suffered its worst setback,”
About 120 million people are reportedly living in poverty as a result of the pandemic, with the number expected to rise to about 150 million by the end of 2021.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been listed among emerging “hot spots,” for the “new poor” with the region now expected to be home to about a third of the people who are newly impoverished by COVID-19.
Almost half of the poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in only five countries namely; Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.
Women and children are the most affected by poverty according to the World Bank report.
“Women represent a majority of the poor in most regions and among some age groups. About 70 percent of the global poor aged 15 and over have no schooling or only some basic education,” the report says.
Poverty and Climate Change
The report also attributes the increased levels of poverty to climate change, saying the vice will drive 68 million to 132 million into poverty by 2030 considering that a large share of the poor in a number of countries live in areas that are both affected by conflict and facing high exposure to floods.
These include countries such as Nepal, Cameroon, Liberia, and the Central African Republic.
“Climate change is a particularly acute threat for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia — the regions where most of the global poor are concentrated”.
World Bank further warns that without adequate global response, the cumulative effects of the pandemic and its economic fallout, armed conflict, and climate change will exact high human and economic costs well into the future.
“During the recovery period, nations must look to reengage with a longer-term development agenda that includes promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, investing in human capital, and improving the quality of public administration and services while upholding political legitimacy, and ensuring that debt levels remain both manageable and transparent,” the report says.