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Poverty and COVID-19 - a Grim Forecast from the World Bank

The World Bank - the Washington, DC, based institution specializing in grants and loans to poor nations, is warning that the fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic could push 60 million people into extreme poverty and "likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998."

Back on April 20, 2020, according to CNN-News, the Bank, via a blog post, had then predicted a "best estimate" that 49 million would be forced into extreme poverty because of the "unprecedented crisis", the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Bank has since projected that number to increase to 60 million people due to halted economic activity, thus "erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation, " the Bank's President David Malpass said in a statement.

The World Bank's emergency relief efforts, according to the CNN report, has targeted 100 developing countries - home to 70% of the world's population. 

Extreme poverty is defined as human sustenance on less than $1.90 per day per person. 

Grim forecasts place tens of millions of people in Africa of becoming destitute because of COVID-19. In a joint statement, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Solomon Dersso, have warned: "We cannot afford to stand idly by and hope this most viral and deadly of diseases bypasses Africa, which is home to many of the world's poorest countries who are simply not in position to handle such a pandemic."

In a possible humanitarian crush to already struggling sub-Saharan Africa, home to 39 of the Bank's 100-target countries, it is projected that that region and 23 million of its people, would suffer most from the impacts of COVID-19. The Bank also named South Asia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as other major sufferers, while India could see "the largest change in the number of poor" with about 12 million people affected, CNN reported.

Given the grim forecasts toward extreme poverty for too many souls because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most susceptible nations and peoples should do their utmost to ward off gut wrenching hunger. Agriculture - food production and cultivation, should figure highly in all amelioration efforts.