IMF Chief Economist says pandemic will cause ‘worst recession since the Great Depression’: Oxfam reaction

Published: 14th April 2020

In reaction to IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath’s statement that the coronavirus pandemic will trigger the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression, far worse than that seen during the 2008 financial crisis, Nadia Daar, Oxfam International’s Head of Washington DC Office, said:

“The IMF’s assessment is chilling. The human suffering behind those numbers is almost unimaginable. Oxfam’s research shows that coronavirus could push half a billion more people into poverty.

“Protection measures championed by Gopinath, such as increased healthcare spending, are critical while the economy is shut down, but they are absolutely essential even in normal times. Investments in universal social protection and healthcare must continue after recovery.”

Notes to editors

Oxfam’s new report ‘Dignity Not Destitution’ presents fresh analysis which suggests between six and eight percent of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire economies to manage the spread of the virus. This could set back the fight against poverty by a decade, and as much as 30 years in some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

Download Dignity Not Destitution: An Economic Rescue Package for All.

In 2018 there were 3.4 billion people living on less than $5.5 per day according to the World Bank. Researchers used mathematical models to predict how many more people would fall below World Bank poverty lines of $1.90, $3.30 and $5.50 a day based on a 5, 10 and 20 percent drop in GDP. A 20 percent drop in GDP would mean an estimated 434.4 million more people living on less than on $1.90 a day, 611.8 million more people living on less than $3.30 a day and 547.6 million more people on less than $5.50 a day. This represents rise between 6 percent and 8 percent on current levels.

Download A Response Like No Other: Urgent Action needed by the International Financial Institutions, Oxfam's new statement to the IMF and World Bank released ahead of their Spring Meetings. 

Contact information

Annie Thériault in Montreal, Canada | | +51 936 307 990  

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