Poverty in Asia is increasing again

Dhe Corona crisis has wiped out large parts of Asia’s progress in fighting poverty. The epidemic also threatens the achievement of the United Nations development goals. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported Tuesday that up to 80 million people in the region of 35 countries had fallen below the extreme poverty line. It’s $ 1.90 a day.

Christoph Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.

The economy in the developing countries of Asia contracted by a total of 0.1 percent last year, the first recession in almost six decades. You need a growth rate of around 5 percent to create at least enough jobs. The economic output of the Philippines fell by 9.6 percent last year, while that of India fell by 7.3 percent in its fiscal year (March 31). The region lost around 8 percent of its working hours due to the curfew alone.

The progress in Asia, driven by China’s development, was palpable: The number of those people in the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific with an income between $ 5.50 and $ 15 a day has increased since 1990 sevenfold to now – statistically speaking – more than one in three Asians. At the same time, the number of extremely poor people fell from 1.2 billion in 1999 to 203 million in 2017.

Fight against hunger

Without the corona pandemic, the number would have almost halved again to only around 104 million in the next three years, according to the “Bank of Asians”. In reality, however, it is now hovering again at around 180 million. In ten of the region’s economies, more than a tenth of the people vegetate below the extreme poverty line. Quite different in China: the economic upturn there reduced the proportion of the extremely poor from 32 percent of the population in 1990 to less than one percent in 2016.

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