The World Bank today cautioned that by 2021, nearly 150 million people are likely to be pushed into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and countries will have to be ready for a "different economy" post-COVID by permitting capital, labour, skills and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction," the Washington-based global lender said.
According to the biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report, had the pandemic not engulfed the world, the poverty rate would have been expected to drop to 7.9 per cent in 2020.
The pandemic and global recession may force over 1.4 per cent of the world's population to fall into extreme poverty, World Bank Group President David Malpass said.
In order to reverse this setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will have to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labour, skills and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors, he said.
The report also mentioned that a number of middle-income countries will see significant numbers of people fall below the extreme poverty line. About 82 per cent of the total will be in middle-income countries, the report stated.
The convergence of the COVID pandemic along with the pressures of conflict and climate change will put the aim of eradicating poverty by 2030 beyond reach without swift and substantial policy action, the World Bank said, adding that by 2030, the global poverty rate could reach nearly seven per cent.
In its report, the World Bank noted that the inadequate recent data for India severely hinders the ability to monitor global poverty.
The absence of recent data on India, one of the economies with the largest population of extreme poor, creates substantial uncertainty around the current estimates of global poverty, the Bank said.
The World Bank said that in Mumbai, city officials were able to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus in Dharavi, one of the city's largest urban settlements, by mobilising community members and staff from private medical clinics for a strategy aimed at mass screening for fever and oxygen levels.
"Dharavi's success stemmed from a combination of customised solutions, community involvement and perseverance," it added.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the deadly virus has infected over 35 million people and claimed over 1 million lives across the world.
COVID-19 has also affected the world economy with the International Monetary Fund saying that the global economy is bound to suffer a "severe recession".