The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world like a storm and laid bare the feeble foundation of the various systems of our society. It not only exposed the flawed health care systems and the widespread inequality but also threatened to aggravate the issue of poverty around the world. Extreme global poverty has been on the rise, making it a topic of interest for economists as well as the general public. This essay aims to explore the various perspectives regarding global poverty during the pandemic and the lasting impacts that it may foster.
The long-term economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be fairly significant. The Global Economic Prospects report of 2020 presented a comparison with the pre-crisis forecast and revealed that the pandemic could result in pushing approximately 71 million people into severe poverty. The expected rise in the poverty percentage is the first-ever since 1998 and it is predicted to increase from 8.23% as recorded in 2019 to 8.82% in an expected scenario or 9.12% in the worst-case scenario, reverting the progress made since 2017 (World Bank Group, 2021). Similarly, the World Bank Group President, David Malpass claimed that the global recession caused by the pandemic threatens to cause 1.4% of the total world’s population to fall victims to extreme poverty. A higher number of these new poor are expected to be in countries that are already suffering from high rates of poverty, with a majority of middle-income countries slipping below the poverty line. The longer-term scenario reveals that fifty percent of the rise in poverty would be enduring and by 2030, the numbers would peak from the baseline by at least 60 million people (The World Bank, 2020).
The offset of COVID-19 has given rise to an increased need for sustainable societies that are prepared to revert and overcome the economic crisis for the poorest families. The many issues arising from these economic pressures require significant attention. Also, collaboration through national, international, official, and humanitarian actors is imperative to decrease the impact created by this crisis.
The World Bank. (2020). COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021. Retrieved from The World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/10/07/covid-19-to-add-as-many-as-150-million-extreme-poor-by-2021
World Bank Group. (2021). Global Economic Prospects. Washington, DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.