The coronavirus pandemic has thrown between 88 million and 114 million people into extreme poverty, according to the World Bank’s biennial estimates of global poverty.
The reversal is by far the largest increase in extreme poverty going back to 1990 when the data begin, and marks an end to a streak of more than two decades of declines in the number of the extremely impoverished, which the World Bank defines as living on less than $1.90 a day, or about $700 a year.
For almost 25 years, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in a generation, the quest to end poverty has suffered its worst setback. This setback is largely due to major challenges — COVID 19, conflict, and climate change — facing all countries, but in particular those with large poor populations.
The main causes of this slowdown have been apparent for some time, but their effects have now been amplified by COVID-19.
“The novel virus is disrupting everything from daily lives to international trade. The poorest are enduring the highest incidence of the disease and suffering the highest death rates worldwide,” says the Bank.
In Rwanda, as has been reported by The Chronicles, as a result of the pandemic, at least 60% of the population or over 8m people lost entire livelihoods. They are only struggling to get back to their feet.