(CTN News) – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted economies and societies worldwide, and developing Asian countries have not been spared from its consequences.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently released a report shedding light on the severe consequences of the pandemic and the rising living costs of extreme poverty in the region.
According to the ADB’s report, 2022 witnessed a distressing increase in extreme poverty within developing Asian countries.
The pandemic and escalating living expenses resulted in nearly 70 million more individuals living in extreme poverty compared to the hypothetical scenario where the pandemic had not occurred. This alarming surge brings the total number of people suffering from extreme poverty in the region to over 155 million.
In its earlier estimation in 2021, the ADB had already highlighted that an additional 75-80 million people had been pushed into extreme poverty in the region during the preceding year. These figures underscore the profound and sustained impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations.
The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $2.15 a day, adjusted for inflation based on 2017 prices. This indicator serves as a crucial measure of individuals’ inability to meet their basic needs and access fundamental resources.
Looking ahead, the ADB’s report paints a challenging picture for the region. Despite previous expectations of continued progress in poverty reduction, it is estimated that by 2030, approximately 1.26 billion people – roughly 30.3% of the region’s population – could live on incomes ranging from $3.65 to $6.85 a day. This projection underscores the urgency of addressing the underlying issues contributing to poverty.
To combat the rising tide of extreme poverty, the ADB has made several recommendations for governments in developing Asian countries.
These measures encompass strengthening social welfare systems, enhancing access to financial services, investing in critical infrastructure, and fostering technological innovation.
These remedies are envisioned as interconnected steps that can collectively contribute to poverty alleviation and economic growth.
ADB’s Chief Economist, Albert Park, has emphasized the critical role that governments in the region must play in responding to this crisis. While Asia and the Pacific are recovering from the pandemic’s impact, the escalating cost-of-living challenge threatens to undermine progress towards eradicating poverty.
By prioritizing the expansion of social safety nets, fostering investment and innovation, and creating avenues for sustainable growth and employment, governments can steer their nations back on the path towards poverty reduction and prosperity.
In conclusion, the ADB’s report underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to address the escalating crisis of extreme poverty in developing Asian countries. By implementing strategic measures and fostering collaboration, governments can mitigate the pandemic’s repercussions and pave the way for a more equitable and resilient future.