• The Financial District

WORLD EXTREME POVERTY RATE TO RISE FOR 1ST TIME IN 22 YEARS: UN

The number of people in extreme poverty across the world is expected to rise this year for the first time in 22 years due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations said in a recent report. The proportion of the world's population living below $1.90 a day is projected to rise to 8.8 percent in 2020 from 8.2 percent in 2019, according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report 2020 released earlier this month by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The UN said the extreme poverty rate is projected to log its first increase since 1998, when it rose 0.4 percentage point to 29.7 percent, following the previous year's Asian financial crisis that started in Thailand and hit economies hard in the region, according to a UN official, Kyodo news agency reported late on July 24, 2020.


The latest estimate is higher than the initial forecast of 7.7 percent made before the pandemic, with the report forecasting some 71 million people to be pushed back into extreme poverty this year, as the virus spread is set to cause "the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression" in the 1930s. Many of the 71 million people are workers subsisting on informal economies, whose incomes are estimated to have fallen 60 percent in the first month of the crisis. They include around 32 million in South Asia and some 26 million in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.


According to the report, 118 low- and middle-income nations could see an increase of 9.8 to 44.8 percent in deaths of kids under the age of 5, and an 8.3 to 38.6 percent rise in maternal deaths over a period of six months in 2020, if their routine health care is disrupted and access to food is decreased. The impact on education is also serious, the report said, with about 90 percent of all students, or around 1.57 billion, out of school due to closures in response to the virus spread, and at least 500 million excluded from distance learning since one out of five countries do not provide such a solution.


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