World Bank: COVID-19 Outbreak Will Increase Poor Population in Central Asia by 1.4 Million to 2.6 Million
△Brenchu, head of the World Bank Central Asia region G
Brunchuk, the head of the World Bank Central Asia region, said in an interview with Kazakhstan’s media earlier this week that the number of poor people in Central Asia will increase by 1.4 million 2.6 million.
Brunchuk said that if calculated according to the poverty line standard of middle-low income countries with a daily cost of living below US$3.2, the epidemic will lead to an increase of 1.4 million poor people in Central Asia; According to the poverty line standard of upper-middle-income countries with a daily cost of living of less than US$5.50, the poverty population in the region will increase by 2.6 million.
According to local media reports, in Uzbekistan, the country with the largest population in Central Asia (total population 34.03 million), currently the country’s poor population is about 4 to 5 million. The World Bank estimates that the COVID-19 epidemic will cause the country's poor population to increase by 8.7% to 10%. The main reason for the increase in the proportion of poor people is the rising unemployment rate. According to economic data released by the Ukrainian government for the first five months of this year, the number of jobs in the domestic job market has dropped by 75% year-on-year.
In Kazakhstan, the largest economy in Central Asia, the country’s Minister of Labor and Social Security Nurembetov said last week that from the end of March to the end of April, the number of unemployed and temporarily losing income nationwide exceeded 4.2 million; the unemployed reached 1.14 million in May, and about 735,000 in June.
The World Bank said that the unemployment rate and the growth of the poor population in Central Asian countries will depend directly on the trend of the epidemic situation and the level of restrictions in various countries. At present, the Central Asian governments mainly use three major methods to boost the economy and solve the poverty problem. One is to expand domestic production scale, increase investment in real estate, develop infrastructure construction in urban and rural areas, and create more jobs. The second is to improve social security capabilities and provide aid materials and vocational training opportunities to poor families. The third is to reduce overseas labor service quotas. Take Kazakhstan as an example. In 2019, the country attracted a total of 386,000 laborers from other countries. This year it was reduced to 360,000. (Reporter Wang Delu)