Health and Healthcare Systems

The coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion people into poverty

Workers of a local factory begin the production of personal protective gear for local frontline health workers as commissioned by the government, during the partial lockdown in Accra to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Accra, Ghana April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko - RC2T1G9ANDZ0

Global poverty levels could increase for the first time since 1990. Image: REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

Niall McCarthy
Data Journalist, Statista
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Health and Healthcare Systems?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how The Digital Economy is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

The Digital Economy

  • Oxfam warns that COVID-19 could push half a billion people in poverty.
  • The impact will be most deeply felt in the poorest regions of the world.
  • The UN warns that $2.5 trillion is needed to support developing countries through the crisis.

Charity group Oxfam has warned that a recession caused by COVID-19 could push an extra half a billion people into poverty - 8 percent of the world's population - unless urgent action is taken.

Conducted by King’s College London and the Australian National University, the research gauged the short-term impact of containing the coronavirus on global monetary poverty based on the World Bank poverty lines of $1.90, $3.20 and $5.50 a day.

Global poverty levels would increase under all three scenarios for the first time since 1990 according to the analysis with up to a decade of progress lost globally. The impact is set to be even worse in some hard-hit parts of the world such as North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East where up to 30 years of progress could be wiped out.

Have you read?

The most serious scenario involves a 20 percent fall in income which would result in an additional 548 million people earning less than the World Bank poverty threshold of $5.50 per day.

The United Nations has warned that $2.5 trillion is needed to support developing countries during the crisis and that nearly half of all Africa's jobs could be lost. G20 ministers, The World Bank and the IMF are set to meet to discuss debt relief for poorer countries next week.

Oxfam has urged them to agree to a global rescue package and mobilize the sum cited by the UN to avert a global economic collapse. Possible measures to raise the money could include the immediate cancellation of $1 trillion in debt, the IMF issuing a further $1 trillion in Special Drawing Rights, an increase in aid flows to struggling countries as well as the adoption of emergency solidarity taxes.

Coronavirus Covid-19 virus infection China Hubei Wuhan contagion spread economics dow jones S&P 500 stock market crash 1929 depression great recession
The impact could be worse in hard-hit regions such as North Africa and the Middle East. Image: Statista
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Health and Healthcare SystemsEconomic GrowthEquity, Diversity and Inclusion
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

This is how stress affects every organ in our bodies

Michelle Meineke

May 22, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum