Elevated extreme poverty to persist through 2021: World Bank

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Washington (AFP)

Global economic growth could rebound next year but the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to remain unchanged, the World Bank warned Tuesday.

The projection came after the Washington-based development lender said Monday the coronavirus pandemic could drive between 70 and 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020 as the global economy faces its worst recession in 80 years.

The bank expects growth to rebound by four percent in 2021 but the countries with the highest shares of the world's extremely poor are not projected to grow faster than their population -- meaning extreme poverty will remain unchanged.

"Nigeria, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- three countries which we project are home to more than a third of the world's poor -- are predicted to have per-capita growth rates in real GDP of –0.8 percent, 2.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively," the World Bank said in a blog.

"With population growth rates of 2.6 percent, 1.0 percent and 3.1 percent, this is hardly enough for sustainable decreases in the poverty headcount."

The bank warned "South Asia may see a larger increase in the number of poor as a result of COVID-19," particularly in India.

Of the 176 million people expected to be pushed below the $3.20 per-day poverty line, two-thirds are in South Asia.