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COVID-19 pushed 55m Africans into extreme poverty in 2020: report

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-15 21:31

A vegetable seller waited for customers in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, April 5, 2021. [Photo/ Xinhua]

DAKAR -- The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed an estimated 55 million Africans into extreme poverty in 2020 and reversed more than two decades of poverty reduction in Africa, said a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The report with the theme "Fight against poverty and vulnerability in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic", was issued by the ECA during the 54th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that's being held from May 11 to 17 in Dakar, capital city of the West African country Senegal.

The report exposed the causes and consequences of the increase in poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other shocks such as the oil prices.

Non-poor people whose level of consumption was at $1.90 to $2.09 a day (0-10 percent above the poverty line) fell into poverty because of the pandemic, since even a small amount of consumption volatility could push them below the poverty threshold, said the report.

It noted that poor people with few assets, limited access to credit, informal employment and low wages were particularly severely hit by containment measures introduced during the pandemic.

The report also warned that 15 African countries were also at risk of finding themselves "in a situation of over-indebtedness".

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