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LatinNews Daily - 17 March 2021

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In brief: Poverty rises in the DR

* The Dominican Republic’s economy, planning, and development ministry (MEPyD) has published a new report which shows that the country’s national poverty rate rose to 23.4% in 2020, up from 21.0% in 2019, as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which caused the country’s GDP to contract 6.7% in 2020. This translates into 268,515 Dominicans being pushed into poverty. The same report showed that the rate of extreme poverty rose to 3.5% in 2020, up from 2.7% in 2019, equivalent to 90,175 people falling into extreme poverty in absolute terms. The report highlights, however, the impact of mitigation programmes offered by the government, which it said prevented the poverty rate rising to 29.1% of the population, or 594,745 people from falling into poverty. Such programmes include the Quédate en Casa scheme subsidising the most vulnerable households, including informal workers, and the Fondo de Asistencia Solidaria al Empleado (FASE) scheme which provides monthly transfers to families of formal workers who were laid off, among others.