Aside infecting 1.5 million and killing nearly 90,000 as of Thursday, economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic could send half a billion people worldwide into poverty, charity Oxfam said Thursday in a plea for more aid for developing countries ahead of next week’s virtual World Bank and G20 meetings.
- A new Oxfam report published Thursday suggests that the number of people living in poverty will rise between 6% and 8% compared to 2018 levels, as economies shut to try and mitigate the spread of the virus.
- Nearly half of all African jobs could be lost to coronavirus, the United Nations have claimed, in part because of the disruption of supply chains as a result of border closures.
- The crisis could set back by a decade the progress made to end world poverty, Oxfam said, and even as much as 30 years in poorer regions like sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, which are beginning to feel the effects of the pandemic as coronavirus spreads.
- The United Nations estimates that it could cost $2.5 trillion to support developing countries through the pandemic, and would also require an additional $500 billion in aid from foreign countries, many of which are facing recessions of their own.
- More than half of the world’s population could be living in poverty in the fallout of the pandemic, the report found, compared to about 46% in 2018.
Crucial quote: “Those who have the least are being hit the hardest, and this worrying new research shows that the pandemic could force half a billion more people around the world into poverty,” Oxfam head Danny Sriskandarajah said. “The choices being made now could have profound implications for our collective future.”
Tangent: Oxfam has proposed a plan of action to help ease the impact of coronavirus on the world’s poor, which includes provisions like the cancellation of $1 trillion worth of debt in developing countries, cash grants and bailouts, debt cancellation, and increased aid funded in part by taxing the world’s wealthiest.
Key background: U.N. labor agency The International Labour Organization said in March that the pandemic could lead to the loss of nearly 25 million jobs worldwide, more than in the 2008 Great Recession. While wealthy nations like the U.S. and the U.K. have passed stimulus packages to boost their economies during the pandemic, developing countries lack the resources to do the same, Oxfam said.