Washington DC, USA, Wed. July 14, 2021– In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 7 million companies have been forced into closure as a result of the pandemic. The Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported a gloomy outlook in regard to economic recovery in the region. More than a third of the people living in the region are reportedly living in poverty. Some 25% of the total population lack food security and are not certain where they will get their next meal.
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the economies in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will grow 2.9% on average in 2022. This represents a slowdown in growth in comparison to the 2021 rebound. The ECLAC report claims that the structural problems that stunted growth in the region have become even more pronounced during the pandemic and will have negative effects on the economic and labor market recovery, despite the projected growth in 2021 and 2022. The ECLAC report also noted that the economy may return to mediocre trajectories, as a result of insufficient investments, low employment, and damages to the environment in the region.
“The report shows how the pandemic continues to be fueled by inequality. And unfortunately, our region is the most unequal in the world,” stated Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne. As of June 30, over 1.26 million persons in the region have died as a result of COVID-19 in the region. This represents 32% of the world’s total fatalities, which is alarming, since the region is home to only 8.4% of the world’s population. In addition, the percentage of fully vaccinated persons in Latin America and the Caribbean (13.6%) is far lower than the rate of vaccination in North America and Europe, which have vaccinated over 30% of their population.
Dr. Etienne emphatically stated that “Full economic activity cannot resume unless we have the virus under control.” “If the pandemic is not brought under control, economic reactivation will be very difficult,” she further said.
A prime reason for the situation the region is in is underinvestment in the health sector. Dr. Etienne calls on all Latin American and Caribbean countries to increase budget allocations for the public health sector. PAHO believes that at least 6% of a country’s gross domestic product should be allotted for health systems.