In recent years, 165 million additional people worldwide have slipped below the poverty line, according to a UN report. Because of the covid pandemic and the subsequent economic upheavals since 2020, the daily money available to those affected has fallen below the threshold of $3.65 (about 3.26 euros), the UN development agency UNDP said Friday. A total of just over 1.65 billion people live below that threshold.
“This figure could have been even higher if governments had not launched social programs and economic stimulus packages during the Corona crisis,” said UNDP chief Achim Steiner, Germany’s highest-ranking representative to the United Nations. However, this burden is often unsustainable for poor countries in particular, he added.
This has far-reaching social consequences; he added: “A government that can no longer employ doctors and nurses in hospitals, that cannot provide medicines for rural health centers, is undermining the country’s social infrastructure,” Steiner continued. He said this means less medical aid, less education and no social safety nets to relieve people when they can no longer feed their families.
Already on Wednesday, the United Nations had warned that 52 countries were in a debt trap that they could hardly manage without help. It said that public debt worldwide had risen to a record $92 trillion (about 82.5 trillion euros) in 2022. This is five times as much as in 2000, and poor countries account for a disproportionately high share. A good 40 percent of the world’s population, 3.3 billion people, live in countries where interest payments on loans exceed spending on health or education, it says.
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