The World Bank (WB) has claimed that about a million people have been added to the group of people who were recorded as living in poverty last year.
In its recent Poverty and Equity brief, the Bretton Woods Institution attributed the sharp increase to natural disasters including Cyclone Idai which it said has worsened the situation in three key provinces that account for 30% of agricultural output. The WB added said:
Extreme poverty is estimated to have risen from 29 percent in 2018 to 34% in 2019, an increase from 4.7 to 5.7 million people. The increase is driven by economic contraction and the sharp rise in prices of food and basic commodities. Contraction of agricultural production following an El Nino induced drought worsened the situation in rural areas.
The WB also said that drought also contributed to the deterioration in standards of living as it worsened shortages in electricity and water “causing widespread rationing and tariff adjustments to manage costs”.
The report is consistent with reports by the International Monetary Fund and government statistics agency, ZIMSTAT who projected severe starvation for many citizens.
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