UNDP estimates that half of Burma’s population could fall into poverty

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimates that nearly half of Burma’s population will fall into poverty early next year due to the economic downturn caused by the Kovis epidemic and the military coup over the past five years.

With a daily income of 1,590 kyat ($ 0.90), the number of people living below the poverty line set by the UNDP will almost double from 24.8% in 2017 to 46.3% nationwide.

In urban areas, 37.2 percent will fall into poverty by early 2022, up from 11.3 percent in 2017, which is even more shocking.

Kenny Wisnaraja, director of the UNDP Asia and Pacific Bureau, told the Nikkei Asia on November 30 that the poverty was due to the involvement of the middle class.

The middle class is the driving force behind growth in an economy, and the consumption of the middle class creates new jobs and opportunities. He said it would create new businesses.

However, there was a boom in textiles and clothing in Myanmar. Tourism; Hospitality and the entire construction industry have been severely affected by both the Kovis 19 and the political upheaval.

Those who have lost their jobs are now relying on their savings to cover their lost or declining income, and the middle class is on the verge of collapse, he said.

According to the Asian Development Bank in September, Myanmar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to decline by 18.4 percent in 2021, down from its previous estimate of 9.8 percent.

UNDP said in a report on Wednesday that the military coup in February and the Kovis 19 plague reduced the income of non-farm businesses by about 50 per cent, reduced wages and agricultural incomes by 25 per cent and remittances and social turnover by 10 per cent.

As a result, almost half of Myanmar’s population is now facing really difficult times, according to UNDP.

He added that while the UNDP now hopes to escalate the conflict between the military and protesters, tensions are still spreading across the country.

He said the disruption of the domestic market and supply chains was extremely difficult, especially for smallholder farmers.

Burma’s neighbor Bangladesh; The United Nations General Assembly confirmed on November 24 that Laos and Nepal have emerged as the world’s least developed countries (LDCs).

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