Up to 60 million people will be pushed into “extreme poverty” by the coronavirus, warns the president of the World Bank.
David Malpass said the bank expects global economic growth to decline by 5% this year as countries face the pandemic.
This has already led to millions of people losing their jobs and businesses going bankrupt, with the poorest countries feeling the brunt.
“Millions of livelihoods have been destroyed and health systems are under severe strain around the world,” he said.
“Our estimate is that up to 60 million people will be plunged into extreme poverty – erasing all of the progress made in reducing poverty in the past three years,” said Malpass on Tuesday.
The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $ 1.90 (£ 1.55) per person per day.
The Washington-based lender is offering $ 160 billion in grants and low-interest loans to help poor countries weather the crisis. Malpass said 100 countries, home to 70% of the world’s population, have already received emergency funding.
“Although the World Bank provides significant resources, it will not be enough,” he added. “I was somewhat frustrated with the slow pace. Commercial creditors, on the whole, continue to receive payments from even the poorest countries, and there must be a faster movement. “
The World Bank has been working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a program that allows poor countries to request debt relief on repaying loans owed to G20 members until the end of this year.
At the same time, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Bank, said that the coronavirus pandemic should serve as a “wake-up call” to build a more just society.
“I sincerely hope that we will use this crisis as a catalyst to rebuild an economy that creates and maintains opportunities for many more people, especially those who have stayed too long,” he wrote before the annual shareholders meeting. from the bank on Tuesday.