One of humanity’s most stunning achievements is that we have lifted so many people out of poverty. Indeed, for the first time in human history, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has fallen to less than 10 percent of the world population. But the gains we’ve made against the indignity of poverty could be wiped out — and hunger and inequality could worsen drastically — unless we act fast to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Alongside action by business and governments, big philanthropy and people of both ordinary and extraordinary means have a crucial part to play in averting calamity.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a black-swan event — an unexpected event with severe consequences. Even if we are optimistic about curbing the public-health threat over time, particularly given the underlying economic tenuousness exposed and exacerbated by this crisis, the pandemic stands to produce sudden misery and human suffering at unprecedented scale.
Projections by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank suggest that a failed pandemic response could result in half the world population of 7.8 billion people soon living in poverty. [read more]