Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Suffer the little children

The Economist describes how, in the aftermath of the credit crunch, the very poor will get even poorer:
As capital inflows and export earnings vanish, poor countries face a mountain of debt: $2.5 trillion-3 trillion of emerging-market debt falls due in 2009—as much as the American and European budget deficits, plus Europe’s bank bail-out costs. The World Bank puts emerging markets’ financing shortfall between $270 billion and $700 billion.

Tragically, these problems follow a decade of growth that has lifted millions out of poverty. According to Martin Ravallion of the World Bank, roughly one person in six in emerging markets had raised themselves above the $2-a-day poverty line in 2005, though they still got less than $3 a day. Many may now slip back. Mr Ravallion thinks that 65m people will fall below the $2-a-day poverty line this year, 12m more than he had expected a month ago; 53m will fall below the level of absolute poverty, which is $1.25 a day—compared with 46m expected last month.

The consequence will be dreadful. The World Bank reckons that between 200,000 and 400,000 more children will die every year between now and 2015 than would have perished without the crisis.

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