The World Bank on Tuesday said that the coronavirus pandemic will push over 6 crore people into extreme poverty, even as it announced emergency operations worth $160 billion (Rs 12.1 lakh crore) in 100 developing countries to fight the virus, PTI reported on Wednesday.
“The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty,” World Bank President David Malpass told reporters via video conference. He said this will erase much of the recent progress done in poverty alleviation.
“The World Bank Group has moved quickly and decisively to establish emergency response operations in 100 countries, with mechanisms that allow other donors to rapidly expand the programmes,” he said. Malpass added that the World Bank decided to deploy $160 billion in order to provide rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, support the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery.
Malpass said that 100 countries, home to 70% of the world’s population, have already been granted emergency finance, BBC reported. The World Bank chief also said that he was disappointed at the slow pace at which commercial lenders had been offering debt relief to poor countries.
The World Bank Group’s support through grants, loans and equity investments will be supplemented by the suspension of bilateral debt service. “The bilateral debt-service suspension being offered will free up crucial resources for IDA [International Development Association] countries to fund emergency responses to Covid-19,” Malpass said. “Nations should move quickly to substantially increase the transparency of all their governments’ financial commitments. This will increase the confidence in the investment climate.”
On April 3, the World Bank approved $1 billion (Rs 7,570 crore) emergency funding for India. A United Nations report said on April 7 that the pandemic could force 40 crore Indians working in the informal sector deeper into poverty.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected over 49 lakh people so far, and killed more than 3.23 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University.