According to the World Data Lab, there are today 742 million people living in severe poverty, up about 90 million from a year ago because of Covid-19. Although public health is not the core business of J. E. Austin Associates, we are a firm that is passionately working to reduce extreme poverty. While the pandemic has led to a rise in severe poverty, the crisis has also seen unprecedented public-private cooperation to address the challenge.
In 2020, JAA worked with our global partners to develop initiatives that will address the causes of poverty and will contribute to solutions. We helped to implement over 20 projects in Colombia, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Bosnia, Moldova, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Pakistan, Congo, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
We worked with farmers in Egypt to continue their access to finance and markets during Covid-19, and we prepared a comprehensive economic strategy for Guyana, we contributed to economic progress and policy improvement in countries like Nigeria and Congo which face the biggest poverty challenges. We are proud to be helping Ukraine integrate better into the global economy, and to continue to pioneer sustainable approaches to grow startup ecosystems, most notably in Vietnam.
Our client confidence was such that we were awarded follow-on work on three of our multi-year implementation projects. Our 2020 performance is thanks to our JAA family around the world and at HQ, so THANK YOU to our US employees, to our many international consultants, and most of all to our local employees, partners, and project beneficiaries who are on the front lines of building, and in some cases rebuilding, your countries.
Throughout this year JAA proposed new ideas, new approaches, and new tools to combat the devastating effects of the pandemic. We will continue working with our partners in 2021 to realize our mission of eliminating extreme poverty. As always, we invite thoughts and contributions as we map out initiatives that might be particularly attractive to and effective for a new administration and a new year.
I wish health and happiness to our global JAA family and hope for a new beginning in 2021.
President and Co-Founder, J.E. Austin Associates