- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2020

The global economic impacts from the coronavirus outbreak could push up to a half a billion more people into poverty around the world, a global poverty fund warned Thursday.

In a new report, Oxfam, which is comprised of 19 independent charitable organizations focused on poverty alleviation around the world, estimates that the financial implications from the coronavirus pandemic could set back the poverty fight by up to 30 years.

“Unless dramatic action is taken to shore up the economies of developing countries, the crisis could push as many as half a billion people into poverty,” Oxfam warned.

“Developing countries must act to protect their people and demand action from rich nations to support them,” the group said and called governments worldwide to provide at least $2.5 trillion to support developing countries and “prevent global economic collapse.”

The organization concluded that the new coronavirus could increase the number of people living in poverty by between 434 million and 611 million.

Jose Maria Vera, Oxfam’s International interim executive director, urged global financial organizations to immediately cancel $160 billion in debt payments this year to developing countries.

“The devastating economic fallout of the pandemic is being felt across the globe,” he said. “But for poor people in poor countries who are already struggling to survive, there are almost no safety nets to stop them falling into poverty.”

More than half of the world’s population could be living in poverty once the coronavirus pandemic passes, the group said, with 40% of the newest to be added to the poverty count located in East Asia and the Pacific and roughly 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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