The World Bank is warning that as many as 115 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty this year due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That is higher than the bank previously estimated and leaves a devastating scar after years of progress. But the bank has also reported that its estimates for 2021 shows that around 150 million people could be living below the extreme poverty threshold of less than $1.90 (roughly R32) a day.
“The pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4% of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement.
If the pandemic had not struck, the global extreme poverty rate was expected to fall to 7.9%, but now could climb as high as 9.4%, the bank said in its flagship report.
Meanwhile another study by an international wildlife conservation group has shown that people convicted for wildlife poaching and trafficking in South Africa commit the crimes due to poverty and joblessness. The report was published and compiled after interviews with 73 convicted wildlife offenders incarcerated in South Africa’s jails, concluded that 70% of them were forced into crime just to make a living.
“A variety of reasons led offenders to become involved in illegal wildlife trade, one frequent motivation being a desire to provide for their families given the lack of viable legal economic alternatives,” said TRAFFIC.
One study respondent told TRAFFIC: “I just wanted to give my children a better life than I had”.
Another said he just wanted to send his “first born to school so that he could get education. I wanted him to have the opportunity which I was denied as a child”.
“If I were working, I would not have gone and done this,” regretted another respondent.
Yet others took the risk just to keep up with well-to-do friends.
“My friends… used to poach. They were driving cars and I wished to be like them,” said another, adding “so I ended up doing illegal things. I was fooled, and I regret what I did.”
DID YOU KNOW?
According to Statistics South Africa, the South African economy shed 2,2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020?
The results indicate that the number of employed persons decreased by 2,2 million to 14,1 million in the 2nd quarter of 2020 compared to the 1st quarter of 2020. This unprecedented change is the largest quarter 1 to quarter 2 decline since the survey began in 2008. Contrary to what one would expect in the face of such a large decline in employment, the number of unemployed persons declined substantially as well – by 2,8 million – to 4,3 million compared to Q1: 2020. In spite of this massive decline in employment, the number of discouraged work-seekers, like the number of unemployed, decreased by 447 000. The majority of those who moved out of these three categories moved into the category of not economically active for reasons other than discouragement, which increased by 5,6 million between the two quarters.