UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. envoy for Iraq said Wednesday the coronavirus pandemic has made things worse in the country, with a 10% increase in poverty and 3 million people who can’t afford to buy enough food.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the U.N. Security Council the pandemic has also disrupted studies for over 11 million school and university students across Iraq and led to the doubling of reported incidents of gender-based violence “amid dwindling options for victims to seek assistance and find shelter.”
On the economic front, she said oil-rich Iraq is expected to experience a 9.7% decline in GDP, mainly as a result of the steep crash in crude prices since the pandemic began, which has cut oil revenues nearly in half.
In addition, Hennis-Plasschaert said, the private sector, which “remains hindered by a lack of reforms,” has been especially hard hit by COVID-19-related job losses. The resulting fall in non-oil economic growth comes at a time when the country is “in dire need of economic diversification,” she said.
Source: NewYork Times, By