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World Bank Says Additional 89M In ‘Extreme Poverty’ By 2010, Asks For Increased Aid

An additional 89 million people are expected to be pushed to levels of “extreme poverty” by the end of 2010, according to a new World Bank report that urges developed nations to increase aid to developing countries, Bloomberg reports. Ahead of a meeting of the G20 in Pittsburgh, “World Bank President Robert Zoellick is calling on leaders of the biggest industrial economic powers to avoid slashing donations and other assistance to low-income countries, which the report said face a ‘long and muted recovery,'” the news service writes (Rastello, 9/16).

The World Bank said that the global financial downturn has resulted in a significant decrease in trade, remittances, tourism and capital flows, which has forced governments in developing countries to cut spending in critical areas, including health care and infrastructure, the Washington Post reports (Shin, 9/17). The World Bank report estimates that the poorest countries face an $11.5 billion shortfall in “critical core spending,” Agence France-Presse writes, adding that slightly more than “two-thirds of that gap is for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.”

In a World Bank press release Zoellick said, “The poor and most vulnerable are at greatest risk from economic shocks — families are pushed into poverty, health conditions deteriorate, school attendance declines, and progress in other critical areas is stalled or reversed.” He added, “The poorest countries may not be well represented on the G20, but we cannot ignore the long-term costs of the global downturn on their people’s health and education” (9/16). 

Zoellick said that the upcoming G20 meeting could be “an opportunity to build a responsible globalization,” Reuters reports. He “urged the G20 to finalize a U.S.-hatched plan to increase investment $20 billion in agriculture in developing countries, approved by industrial countries in July,” according to the news service (Wroughton, 9/16).