Covid-induced loss: May take a decade for the poor to recover | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 25, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:47 AM, January 25, 2021

Covid-induced loss: May take a decade for the poor to recover

Says Oxfam report

It took the 1,000 richest people in the world less than a year to recoup their losses, but it may take at least a decade for billions of poor people to recover from the coronavirus-induced economic impacts, reveals an Oxfam report.

"The 1,000 richest people on the planet recouped their Covid-19 losses within just nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world's poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic," said the report, "The Inequality Virus", released today.

The increase in the wealth of the 10 richest billionaires since the start of the crisis is more than enough to prevent anyone on the earth from falling into poverty because of the virus and to pay for Covid-19 vaccines for all, it pointed out.

Oxfam is an international confederation of 20 NGOs working with partners in over 90 countries to end injustices that cause poverty.

"Covid-19 has the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago," the report mentioned.

"Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000 billionaires, mostly White male, to bounce back."

It also noted that 711 billionaires in Asia have seen their fortunes increase by $1.5 trillion since March last year, enough to give all the 157 million people forced into poverty by Covid-19 in the region a cheque for $9,000 each.

In South Asia, the poorest sub region, 101 billionaires have seen their fortunes rise by $174 billion in the same period, enough to give the region's 93 million people, forced into poverty due to the pandemic, a cheque for $1,800 each.

Besides, 610 billionaires in East Asia and the Pacific region have seen their fortunes increase by $1.3 trillion since March, enough to give all 64 million people forced into poverty by Covid-19 in the region a cheque for $20,000 each, the report said.

The world's 10 richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began -- more than enough to pay for Covid vaccines for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic.

The pandemic has created the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work, said the report, adding that women are hardest hit, yet again.

"Globally, women are overrepresented in the low-paid precarious professions that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. If women were represented at the same rate as men in these sectors, 112 million women would no longer be at high risk of losing their incomes or jobs. Women also make up roughly 70 percent of the global health and social care workforce -- essential but often poorly paid jobs that put them at greater risk from Covid-19," it added.

 

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