SDG target: Eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.
This crisis has thrust almost 37 million more people into extreme poverty, after 20 straight years of that number coming down. At the same time, it has revealed how fragile that progress is: People living just above the extreme poverty line who have fallen below it because of COVID-19 were obviously vulnerable despite not being officially poor.
In the short term, social-protection payments and emergency business loans—exactly the types of programs being used in high-income countries—can keep people from becoming extremely poor or help the poor avoid destitution. Targeting those programs to women makes a difference, because women direct more income toward investments in their families, which leads to durable prosperity.
However, the longer the pandemic lasts, the worse its economic scars will be. But we can help people as they recover. As Goalkeepers has emphasized year after year, investments in human capital (like health and education) are key to generating economic growth and creating resilient households that don’t just hover around the poverty line.