The World Bank warning of a “truly unprecedented increase” in levels of poverty this year, and renewing calls for debt forgiveness.
Experts are warning of a growing crisis in multiple areas from education to employment, likely to be felt for years to come.
The elimination of which is one of the sustainable development goals, have been pushed into a sharp reverse by a combination of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the growing climate emergency and increasing debt.
In January it updated its forecast for the expected number of newly impoverished people this year from between 88 and 115 million to the new range of between 119 and 124 million. It has not only been in the category of those living below the poverty line of $1.90 (£1.30) a day that increases have been seen. Experts have noted a worrying rise in numbers of people living on less than $3.20 (£2.35) between June last year and January 2021.
The growing crisis has been flagged up in multiple reports looking at indicators from the dropout rate in education in the developing world, to falling wages and rising unemployment, much of it driven by the pandemic, which has closed workplaces, schools and borders, and hammered the global economy. You have 1 billion kids out of school, and online education not accessible to many children in developing countries. In an analysis on this, just an extra year of school enhances earnings to the degree that if you lose that school year, then the estimate through lifespan, globally, means you are looking at a reduction in world GDP of $10tn.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), which said global workers lost $3.7tn in earnings during the pandemic. The ILO reported that Covid-19 crisis was “likely to inflict massive downward pressure on wages in the near future”, with “women and low-paid workers disproportionately affected by the crisis”. The report warned that even in the one-third of countries where average wages appeared to have increased, “this was largely as a result of substantial numbers of lower-paid workers losing their jobs and therefore skewing the average”.