The World Bank’s Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020 report jointly analyzes three converging forces that are driving this increase in global poverty and that threaten to extend its effects far into the future: COVID-19, armed conflict, and climate change. Climate change may drive about 100 million additional people into poverty by 2030, many of whom reside in countries affected by institutional fragility and armed conflict, and where global extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated. Facing these multiple shocks, nations will need to work on many fronts to save lives and livelihoods, provide for their most vulnerable citizens, and restart inclusive growth. This report provides new evidence on emerging “hot spots,” where multiple threats to poor people’s lives and livelihoods converge. Many of these hot spots are in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region now expected to be home to about a third of the people who are newly impoverished by COVID-19.
The report finds that policy makers should remain attentive to broader development challenges, even as the Pandemic plays out. Even before the pandemic, development for many people in the world’s poorest countries was too slow to raise their incomes, enhance living standards, or narrow inequality. During the recovery period, nations must look to reengage with a longer-term development agenda that includes promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, investing in human capital, and improving the quality of public administration and services while upholding political legitimacy, and ensuring that debt levels remain both manageable and transparent. Well-tailored strategies can incorporate approaches that countries have advanced successfully in recent years, while drawing on the research and insights that the development community has accumulated over time.