UNDP: Financial Aid Saved Millions of People From Poverty During the Pandemic

Monetary support provided by nations to their people during the pandemic helped many to stay afloat and stay above the poverty line, UN News reported. This is according to a UNDP report released on Thursday.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) surveyed 41 countries and concluded that without social assistance, an additional 12 to 15 million people in these countries would have fallen into poverty - surviving on less than US$1.9 a day.

Moreover, if we consider a "poverty line" of $5.50 a day, then since March 2020, up to 42 million people in these countries have been lifted out of extreme poverty with the help of social programs;
Not all countries were able to give their citizens the support they needed. For example, most of the prevention of extreme poverty occurred in rich countries; middle-income countries had lower rates, and poor countries were not able to keep their citizens from slipping below the poverty line at all.

"During the pandemic, we saw an unprecedented number of innovative new ways of providing social support to people that played an important role in preventing the growth of poverty," said Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Program. " At the same time, the access to this assistance was highly dependent on location - wealthy countries spent 212 times more on social programs than their less affluent neighbors."

During the pandemic, $2.9 trillion was spent on social support around the world, and only $379 billion of that went to developing countries. In wealthy nations, the amount was $847 per person, but in middle- and low-income countries, it was only $124 per person. In the poorest nations, the figure was as low as $4.

The report estimates that an additional 117 to 168 million people fell below the poverty line during the pandemic. Experts also note that a temporary flat regular monetary support would help millions of people in developing countries stay afloat. To do so, these nations would need to spend 0.5 percent of their GDP and spread that amount over six months.