Pandemic has pushed more than 32 million people into extreme poverty, UN says

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The coronavirus pandemic has had adevastating impacton the world’s poorest countries, pushing millions of people into extreme poverty, according to the United Nations report.

More than 32 million more people in the world’s poorest countries are now living on less than $ 1.90 a day – a direct result of the epidemic, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said Thursday.

The economic impact in the least developed countries has been far more devastating than the health crisis, he said, with growth prospects reduced from 5% to -0.4% this year.

It would be the worst economic performance of the 47 LDCs since the third world debt crisis of the 1980s, the UN said. The abrupt halt to global trade and tourism and the impact of the lockdowns on international migration and remittances have dealt a “ruinous” blow. The combined merchandise trade deficit of LDCs is expected to surpass a record $ 91 billion in 2019.

Domestically, falling incomes, widespread unemployment and growing budget deficits have been exacerbated by the pandemic. According to UNCTAD, this makes poverty and social outcomes of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals a “distant prospect”.

The report comes just a week after the UK slashed its foreign aid budget, a move that sparked a huge domestic backlash. And while the Group of 20 governmentsdebt payment suspendedof the poorest countries earlier this year, the UN said it had to go “way beyond” and consider cancellation.

LDC governments have two main priorities, according to the report: a short-term battle to cushion the effects of the recession and a longer-term battle to build resilience to future crises.

“The pandemic has been a stark reminder of the urgent need to develop productive capacities in LDCs to enable them to achieve structural transformation, reduce their exposure to external shocks and build resilience,” said the Secretary-General of UNCTAD. , Mukhisa Kituyi.

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