About 3.4 million Nigerians could become extremely poor due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, says the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The pan-African bank disclosed this in its African Economic Outlook 2020 Supplement report released on Tuesday.
It also estimated that 49.2m Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, of which Nigerians account for 3.4m.
AfDB projected that GDP losses of Africa could be between $173.1 billion and $236.7bn by 2021.
“Although the number of extreme poor in Africa was projected to reach 425.2m in 2020 under the no-outbreak scenario, COVID 19 could increase it further, from 453.4m to 462.7m under the worst-case scenario, showing increases of 28m and 37.5m,” it noted.
“In 2021, the number would increase by 34-49.2m under alternative scenarios’ as GDP growth continues to trail population growth rates.”
The report said Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo which are two of Africa’s most populous countries, would see the highest rise of 8.5m and 2.7m on the normal basis this year. That could rise to 11.5m and 3.4m if the pandemic outbreak worsens.
Cautioning governments to take proactive steps, the bank said, “West and Central Africa would have higher concentrations of people falling into poverty from the pandemic. Households living in the West and Central African regions would face a higher risk of falling into extreme poverty due to the pandemic than households in other regions.”
“The most affected economies are those with poor healthcare systems, those that rely heavily on tourism, international trade, and commodity exports, and those with high debt burdens and high dependence on volatile international financial flows,” it noted.