At least 28.2 and 49.2 million more Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty owing to the impact of Covid-19, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said. Africa has recently experienced severe natural catastrophes, such as Locust–19, affecting farms and livelihoods in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda, and extreme weather-related shocks across the continent, including droughts, floods, and cyclones in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Also, the expected return of El Niño conditions to East Africa could usher in severe droughts and flooding, suppress agricultural output, and reduce food security, potentially undermining Africa’s recovery.
“Although the number of people in extreme poverty in Africa (using the $1.90 international poverty line) was projected to reach 425.2 million in 2020 under the no-outbreak scenario, Covid–19 could increase it further, to 453.4 million in the baseline scenario and 462.7 million under the worst-case scenario,” AfDB stated in its latest African Economic Outlook 2020 supplement report amid Covid-19.
“In 2021, the number of extreme poor could increase by 34–49.2 million due to the pandemic as GDP growth continues to fall below population growth rates.” Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, two of Africa’s most populous countries, would record the largest increases—8.5 and 2.7 million respectively in the baseline scenario in 2020, and 11.5 and 3.4 million in the worst-case scenario.