In response to the World Bank’s Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversals of Fortune report that COVID-19 may push 150 million people into extreme poverty, Gayle Smith, CEO and President of the ONE Campaign, said:
“This report is yet another stark reminder that the pandemic will continue to wreak its worst on the world’s most vulnerable. The human and economic toll of the crisis will only get worse in the months ahead unless world leaders step up and rise to the challenge of the moment.
“That means that more countries, private creditors and the World Bank need to get behind and extend the debt moratorium originally proposed by the G20. We welcome the Bank’s moves to increase and expedite IDA flows, and its proposed vaccine fund, but poor countries need the liquidity that the moratorium can provide. And private creditors need to act now, as to stand by and watch poverty increase and countries go into default when they have the power to prevent both is morally indefensible and economically short-sighted.
“To the Bank’s credit, this is an important report. But unless we want to witness the reversals of fortune it projects, we must do more than admire the problem. A complete moratorium backed by all creditors, coupled with the allocation of SDRs, is the fastest and smartest way to inject the capital needed to stabilise economies and respond to the pandemic.”