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Covid-19: World Bank Says 13 Million Africans Would Sink Into Extreme Poverty

The coronavirus pandemic has expectedly worsened the conditions of many Africans who, before now, struggled to make ends meet and were economically disadvantaged.

The World Bank research on the effect of the pandemic in Africa has confirmed the fears that the days ahead for a lot of Africans would be tough, to say the least.

The report says an estimate of 13 million Africans are expected to fall below the poverty line at the end of 2020 in the best-case scenario, and 50 million at the worst.

With Africa’s GDP per capita growth now put at three to five percent lower, it is forecasted that the number of Africans living on less than $1.9 is likely to bump up by two percent from the estimated 41.6 percent at the end of 2018 to 43.9 percent at the end of 2020, thereby sinking the continent into its first recession in 25 years.

Data shows that Africa’s poverty rate has in the past years dropped from 46.6 percent in 2010 to 41.6 percent in 2018. The sub-Saharan Africa region experienced growth at an average of six percent, one of the highest growth rates in the world.

Africa is likely to sink into its first recession in 25 years, the World Bank says.

However, the World Bank research posits that the growth may regress in light of current realities which has forced African governments, who struggled to raise revenue pre-COVID-19, to bridge expenditure deficits through debts.

“The swift and aggressive efforts taken by many African governments to contain the disease, necessary as they are, have come at an enormous economic cost,” the World Bank said.

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It added, “These shocks have fallen harder on urban areas where the initial impacts of the lockdowns have been more intensely felt. Income losses have been larger for low-income and informal workers who are in jobs that cannot be done from home.”

The Bank further stated that 45 percent of urban households and 55 percent of rural households in Ethiopia reported income losses due to COVID-19 while 79 percent of Nigerians reported income losses with 42 percent of those who were previously employed losing their jobs permanently.

The story is the same in Kenya as it was estimated that over one million workers have lost their jobs or have been sent on compulsory unpaid leave.

According to a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, three in every five employees were absent from work in May.

The report says there are more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Africa, with 834,262 recoveries, 25,618 deaths, adding that most of the countries have not even reached their peak.

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