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World Bank research shows crisis worsening poverty

  A day ahead of a meeting of industrial powers, the World Bank said on Thursday new research showed more people were being pushed into poverty in developing countries due to the global financial crisis.

It said new 2009 estimates compiled by the bank show that weaker economic growth will push 46 million more people below the poverty line of $1.25 (87 pence) a day than was expected before the crisis emerged in 2007. An additional 53 million people will stay trapped on less than $2 a day. This is on top of the 130-155 million people pushed into poverty in 2008 because of soaring food and fuel prices, it said.

The Washington-based development lender, whose mission is to fight global poverty, said the new forecasts highlight the risk that the world will fail to meet a universally agreed target to halve global poverty by 2015 under the UN Millennium Development Goals.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who will attend the Group of Seven meeting, said helping the poor required a global solution. “While much of the world is focused on bank rescues and stimulus packages, we should not forget that poor people in developing countries are far more exposed if their economies falter,” he said in a statement. “This is a global crisis requiring a global solution. The needs of poor people in developing countries must be on the table,” he said.

In its research, the World Bank said the global economic crisis exposed households in virtually all developing countries to increased poverty and hardship. It said countries where poverty was already a problem before the crisis would be particularly hard hit. It also said efforts by governments in developing countries to fend off the crisis were blunted by weak institutions and already tight budgets. (Reuters)