First crisis, then catastrophe

Unless G20 leaders, the IMF and the World Bank act immediately, crises of inflation, inequality and COVID-19 could push over a quarter of a billion more people into extreme poverty in 2022.

Publication date: 12 April 2022
Author: Oxfam

New Oxfam estimates show that 263 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2022, due to the combined impact of COVID-19, inequality and food and energy price inflation – accelerated by the war in Ukraine. Poorer countries face looming debt crises and the purchasing power of wages is depressed, while corporate profits soar and billionaire wealth reaches unprecedented levels.

We need a global economic rescue plan. G20 leaders, the IMF and World Bank, together with all leaders, must act. They must protect people from the crisis’ harsh impacts, expanding cash transfers and controlling food prices, reject austerity, and tax and invest progressively. Rich countries must urgently cancel unpayable debt payments from poorer countries; reallocate IMF Special Drawing Rights to lower-income countries; and increase additional aid. The IMF and World Bank must participate in debt relief efforts, increase concessional financing; and the IMF must refrain from promoting austerity.