October 11 (NWN) – The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown back poverty alleviation efforts in some countries by a year or even a decade, World Bank Group President David Malpass said on Monday.
Speaking at a media roundtable during the World Bank Group’s 2021 annual meetings, Malpass said the “dramatically uneven” recovery from the pandemic is leading to “tragic reversals in development.”
“The outlook for much of the developing world is challenging given the vaccine gap, rising inflation, limited political support, too few jobs and shortages that are spreading to food, water and electricity,” he said.
The pandemic has driven millions of people into poverty, Malpass said, and it will take many developing countries years to return to pre-crisis income levels.
Malpass provided data on uneven recovery. Advanced economies are catching up and are expected to grow by almost 5% in 2021, while low-income countries will grow by only half a percent. Production in developing countries will remain almost 4% lower than projected before the pandemic. For very poor countries, production will be 5.6% below pre-pandemic levels.
The pandemic has caused “a tragic loss of human capital,” including children missing a year or more from school, disproportionately affecting women, he said.
“It is vital that we address these challenges by reorienting policies in both advanced and developing economies so that growth and investment is broader, less concentrated at the top, and broader improvements in living conditions can be achieved,” he said. … said.
The highest priority is ensuring the safety and distribution of vaccines, Malpass said. He said the World Bank has nearly a quarter billion doses under a bank-financed contract. In addition, the World Bank is implementing COVID-related health programs in 150 countries and vaccination programs in 61 countries, he said.
Malpass said another problem is the debt of low-income countries, which he said increased 12% to $ 860 billion.