By Adedapo Adesanya
The World Bank has cautioned that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may push up to 60 million people into extreme poverty globally, wiping out the gains made in recent years.
According to the Bretton Wood institution on Tuesday, many countries will bear the plight brought about by the pandemic and force those who earn under $1.90 per day into economic hardship.
“The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty, erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation,” said World Bank Group President, Mr David Malpass.
Mr Malpass said the World Bank was financing aid programs in 100 developing countries, home to 70 percent of the world’s population, under the body’s commitment to spend $160 billion in grants and financial support over the next 15 months to help developing countries respond to COVID-19 impact and economic shutdown in advanced countries.
The bank also revealed that of the 100 countries, 39 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly one-third of the total projects are in fragile and conflict-affected situations, such as Afghanistan, Chad, Haiti, and Niger.
It said that disbursements already underway include a $20-million IDA grant for Haiti, $20 million to Senegal and $35 million dollars to Ghana.
World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) provides loans for the world’s 76 poorest countries.
The bank also said that apart from grants, loans and equity investment, it will also suspend bilateral debt service.
“The bilateral debt-service suspension being offered will free up crucial resources for IDA countries to fund emergency responses to COVID-19,” said Mr Malpass.
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