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World Bank poverty report

Minister Müller says: "COVID-19 is stopping progress made in the fight against poverty and hunger, pushing 115 million more people into extreme poverty"


Villagers from Ankirikiriky in southern Madagascar are replanting deforested land in return for food rations from the World Food Programme.

07.10.2020 |

BERLIN / WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the World Bank's biennial poverty and shared prosperity report will be published. The number of poor people worldwide has fallen considerably since 1990. Nevertheless, according to the latest figures, in 2017 there were still 689 million people trying to manage on less than 1.90 dollars a day. The COVID-19 crisis will cause up to 115 million more people to fall into extreme poverty this year.

Commenting on the newest figures published by the World Bank, Development Minister Gerd Müller said:

"The COVID-19 crisis is stopping long-term successes in fighting global poverty. This year, up to 115 million more people will fall into extreme poverty. This increase in the number of poor people will wipe out much of the progress made over the last three decades: since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty had fallen by almost two thirds from a peak of 1.9 billion people; this progress had been achieved even though the global population had increased by 2.2 billion people over the same period. As a result, the poverty rate had been reduced from 36 per cent to just nine per cent. Now, for the first time in years, the world is seeing a new increase in poverty and hunger as a result of COVID-19. We must now, more than ever before, hold to our course and to our goal of a world without hunger and poverty. In many developing countries, the pandemic has led to a massive poverty, hunger and economic crisis. Europe above all must do more to stabilise developing countries in the midst of this crisis."

David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, said regarding the latest figures:

"Today, with COVID-19 sweeping across the globe, an historic global recession, and the world's poorest bearing the brunt of the crisis, good development outcomes are both more difficult and essential. I am encouraged by countries that are already taking bold action, learning fast, and sharing their experiences and results for the benefit of others. We must communicate clearly and work together to undo COVID-19's reversal of fortune and build a better world after this crisis has passed."

According to the global poverty report, almost half of all the people experiencing extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa live in just five countries: Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Madagascar. In these countries the rate of population growth is especially high. In Nigeria alone, the population is set to double over the next 30 years, rising to 400 million people and making Nigeria the third-biggest country in the world.

Germany is leading the way with a global Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme for 3 billion euros, which is being implemented in the following priority areas: food security, supporting displacement and crisis regions, strengthening health systems, and securing jobs and businesses.

  • In India we are supporting the programme "Social Protection" with quickly available loans worth 460 million euros. In this way we are jointly assisting with efforts to distribute food to 800 million people and provide 320 million people who have lost their jobs in the COVID-19 crisis with support to bridge the gap in their incomes.
  • In Bangladesh textile workers who are unable to support themselves because they have been sacked from their jobs are receiving wage compensation payments. Thanks to this assistance, an additional 215,000 workers will have a safety net for the next three months.
  • In Jordan 50 million euros is being used to support the national social protection system, so as to provide help over a period of 12 months for 100,000 households that had been getting an income from informal work. These are households that have lost their work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that have no social protection.
  • In Tunisia we are financing a UNICEF social programme that is providing short-term cash transfers to support more than 300,000 families with children which have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
  • In Malawi, in southern Africa, the BMZ is supporting 63,000 poor households from a total of about 280,000 with short-term payments to bridge the income gap they are facing during the crisis.

You can download the new World Bank report "Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020"here.

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