Giving Compass' Take:

• Homi Kharas, writing for Brookings, argues that global poverty has worsened due to a lack of political will and international leadership, and not solely because of COVID-19. 

• What role can you play in helping alleviate global poverty? 

• Learn how investing in these innovators can help eliminate global poverty. 

How has COVID-19 affected extreme income poverty across the world? We may never know the full answer. Poverty data is typically drawn from household surveys, and for obvious reasons it is nigh impossible to conduct proper surveys under current conditions in many countries. But we do know that the strongest driver of poverty is economic growth and for this indicator, the International Monetary Fund has just produced new estimates for 2020 and beyond from which inferences can be made as to the impact on poverty. Interested readers can access poverty estimates for every country in the world on the World Poverty Clock, a tool with which I am associated.

The results are sobering. Table 1 shows topline figures, built up from an analysis of 183 countries for which data is reported.

The first row of Table 1 shows a baseline of poverty estimates made in late 2019. A total of 650 million people were thought to be in extreme poverty in 2019 and, given likely growth trajectories, poverty was on a path of a steady reduction in most countries, as well as in the aggregate.

Today, the pattern is quite different. Some small data updates affect the historical record—2019 may have been a better year than previously believed, with slightly fewer poor people in the world. But in 2020, the impact of collapsing growth will be substantial.

Read the full article about COVID-19's impact on global poverty by Homi Kharas at Brookings.