Can extreme poverty be eradicated completely

The corona pandemic has changed this and set the world far back in the fight against poverty. The World Bank had to revise its relevant forecasts upwards several times in the past few months. The latest calculations from January 2021 state that the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in between 119 and 124 million new arms in 2020. For this year it is expected that their number will increase 143 to 163 million will increase. Most of the people affected live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Low-income people are hit so hard by the crisis and fall below the poverty line in such large numbers because they have hardly any reserves to draw on. At the same time, the ubiquity of the virus and the universal application of countermeasures deprive them of their most important coping strategies. If there are local crop failures or the loss of employment due to illness, etc., family members or friends can usually compensate for the loss of income through their own extra work or send money from another location to bridge the gap. This is no longer possible because all people and all places are equally affected by the restrictions.

In addition to poverty, inequality is also increasing again within the countries in the emerging markets, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculated in October last year. This is because workers who are employed in sectors with low incomes have far fewer opportunities to work from home than people with high incomes. As a result, a greater proportion of them lose their jobs. The Gini coefficient, with which economists measure the degree of inequality in a society, will presumably rise to 42.7 for the developing countries and thus show a level comparable to that at the time of the economic crisis in 2008. That means the pandemic will undo the struggles that have been made since then.

The IMF also lists a number of possible measures that are suitable for reversing these negative developments. These include programs for economic development and social support, debt relief from the Western world, targeted investments in education and retraining of unemployed workers, and digital financial inclusion that gives low-income households and micro-enterprises access to digital financial services.

So the antidotes are there - they just have to be taken!