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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K065: Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class

新冠重創非洲新興中產階級

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K065: Coronavirus Is Battering Africa’s Growing Middle Class

新冠重創非洲新興中產階級

As the coronavirus surges in many countries in Africa, it is threatening to push as many as 58 million people in the region into extreme poverty, experts at the World Bank say. But beyond the devastating consequences for the continent’s most vulnerable people, the pandemic is also whittling away at one of Africa’s signature achievements: the growth of its middle class.

世界銀行專家指出,新冠肺炎疫情在非洲多國急遽加重,恐將使多達5800萬人陷入極端貧窮(赤貧)。而且疫情除了給非洲大陸最弱勢者帶來毀滅性後果之外,還逐步削弱非洲一項指標性成就,也就是中產階級的成長。

For the last decade, Africa’s middle class has been pivotal to the educational, political and economic development across the continent. New business owners and entrepreneurs have created jobs that, in turn, gave others a leg up as well.

過去這十年,非洲中產階級在非洲大陸全境教育、政治和經濟的發展上,扮演著關鍵性的角色。新的企業主和創業者創造出就業機會,也從而幫了別人一把。

Educated, tech-savvy families and young people with money to spare have fed the demand for consumer goods, called for democratic reforms, expanded the talent pool at all levels of society, and pushed for high-quality schools and health care.

受過教育、熟諳現代科技且有閒錢的家庭和年輕人支撐了消費品的市場,提出了對民主改革的要求,擴大了社會各層次的人才庫,並鼓吹高品質的學校和醫療照護服務。

About 170 million out of Africa’s 1.3 billion people are now classified as middle class. But about 8 million of them could be thrust into poverty because of the coronavirus and its economic fallout, according to World Data Lab, a research organization.

非洲13億人口中,約有1.7億人現在被歸類為中產階級,不過,根據研究機構「世界資料實驗室」的說法,其中約800萬人可能因新冠肺炎疫情及其經濟衝擊而淪為窮人。

It’s a setback that may be felt for years to come.

這個挫敗可在未來幾年內感受到。

“The tragedy is that because Africa is not growing fast, this collapse of the middle class could take several years to recover,” said Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-founder of the World Data Lab.

華府智庫布魯金斯研究所高級研究員兼世界資料實驗室共同創辦人卡拉斯說:「不幸的是,非洲成長速度並不快,中產階級的潰縮可能得花上幾年才能恢復。」

Africa’s middle class tripled over the past 30 years, by some estimates, spurred by job opportunities in sectors like technology, tourism and manufacturing.

一些估計顯示,在科技、觀光和製造業等領域的就業機會帶動下,非洲中產階級人數過去30年間增為三倍。

But now that the region is facing its first recession in 25 years, millions of educated people living in urban centers could fall victim to the extreme income inequality that has defined Africa for decades.

不過,由於非洲遭逢25年來首次經濟衰退,數以百萬計住在都會區的受過教育者可能淪為極端收入不平等的受害者。極端收入不平等數十年來一直是非洲的特徵。

Kharas defined the middle class in Africa as households that spend anywhere between $11 and $110 per capita per day.

卡拉斯把非洲中產階級定義為,平均每人每天花費11美元到110美元(約台幣330元到3300元)的家庭。

The rising middle class has been “critical for the future prospects of African economies as they stimulate long-term growth, social progress, an inclusive and prosperous society and effective and accountable governance,” said Landry Signé, author of “Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential.” The coronavirus “will drastically delay wages and hold back the dreams of Africa’s middle class,” he said.

著有「解放非洲商業潛力」一書的賽恩說,中產階級崛起「對非洲的經濟前景至關重要,因為中產階級能促進長期成長、社會進步,造就具包容性且繁榮的社會,以及有效率且可問責的治理」。他說,新冠肺炎「將大幅延後薪水發放,並讓非洲中產階級難以圓夢」。

What distinguishes the middle class from the poor, said Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered bank, is the ability to earn a steady income. But because of the pandemic, many more people across Africa are at risk of being “knocked back into poverty” because of lack of jobs, unemployment benefits or any social safety net, she said.

渣打銀行非洲中東首席經濟學家拉奇雅.卡恩說,中產階級與窮人不同之處在於,他們有賺取穩定收入的能力。不過她說,由於疫情大流行,非洲各地有更多人可能因為缺乏就業機會、失業救濟金或任何社會安全網而被「打回貧窮」。

The pandemic is also posing a threat to nascent industries supported by governments in Africa in recent years to boost the number of middle-income earners.

疫情大流行還威脅到剛起步的一些產業。非洲各國政府近年來支持這些產業,冀以促進中所得人數的成長。

Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/4712407

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