The fallout from the coronavirus spread that has killed more than 83,000 people and wreaked havoc on economies around the world could push around half a billion people into poverty, Oxfam said on Thursday.
The report released by the Nairobi-based charity ahead of next week’s IMF-World Bank annual meeting calculated the impact of the crisis on global poverty due to shrinking household incomes or consumption.
“The economic crisis that is rapidly unfolding is deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis,” the report found. “The estimates show that global poverty could increase for the first time since 1990,” it said, adding that this could throw some countries back to poverty levels last seen some three decades ago.
The report authors played through a number of scenarios, taking into account the World Bank’s various poverty lines.
Under the most serious scenario – a 20% contraction in income – the number of people living in extreme poverty would rise by 434 million people to 922 million worldwide. The same scenario would see the number of people living below the $5.50 a day threshold rise by 548 million people to nearly 4 billion.