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United Nations expects poverty in Iraq to double to 40% in 2020

May 14, 2020 at 4:00 am

Iraqi security forces distribute food to people in need during curfew due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Baghdad, Iraq on 13 April 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced on Tuesday that the poverty rate in Iraq would double to 40 per cent from around 20 per cent, where it currently stands.

“The Iraqi economy is expected to contract by 9.7 per cent in 2020, with poverty rates rising to about 40 per cent,” explained Plasschaert, during a briefing at the UN Security Council.

She added that: “It is expected that there will be a decrease in economic opportunities.”

Plasschaert continued: “Iraq has been encouraged to establish an appropriate healthy environment for a fairly distributed broad-based growth, and create job opportunities, with the assistance of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and other partners.”

The special representative indicated that: “The current economic situation has once again revealed Iraq’s weakness due to the severe shortage of economic diversification.”

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“Iraq’s monthly oil revenues decreased from six to 1.4 billion dollars between February and April,” informed Plasschaert.

She further stated that: “One cannot exaggerate the magnitude of the challenges facing Iraq. The existing political, social, economic and security crises have multiplied due to the global coronavirus pandemic and the significant drop in oil prices.”

Global oil prices have collapsed by half in the past few months, due to the coronavirus pandemic that has been affecting the world and damaging countries’ economies.

Iraq is the second largest exporter of crude oil in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) following Saudi Arabia. The country depends on the revenues from oil sales to finance up to 95 per cent of its expenditures.