Sun | Jul 12, 2020

World Bank says countries take steps now to rebuild from COVID-19

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2020 | 1:36 PM

WASHINGTON, Jun 2, – The World Bank Tuesday said countries, including those in the Caribbean, can take steps now to speed recovery after the worst of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has passed and blunt long-term adverse effects.

A new report released by the World Bank Group’s Global Economic Prospects notes that short-term response measures to address the health emergency and secure core public services will need to be accompanied by comprehensive policies to boost long-term growth, including by improving governance and business environments, and expanding and improving the results of investment in education and public health.

“To make future economies more resilient, many countries will need systems that can build and retain more human and physical capital during the recovery – using policies that reflect and encourage the post-pandemic need for new types of jobs, businesses, and governance systems.”

The analysis has been released ahead of the June 8 issuance of the full report, which will include the bank’s latest forecasts for the global economy.

“The scope and speed with which the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns have devastated the poor around the world are unprecedented in modern times.

Current estimates show that 60 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.

These estimates are likely to rise further, with the reopening of advanced economies the primary determinant,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

He said policy choices made today, including greater debt transparency to invite new investment, faster advances in digital connectivity, and a major expansion of cash safety nets for the poor, will help limit the damage and build a stronger recovery.

“The financing and building of productive infrastructure are among the hardest-to-solve development challenges in the post-pandemic recovery. We need to see measures to speed litigation and the resolution of bankruptcies and reform the costly subsidies, monopolies, and protected state-owned enterprises that have slowed development.”

The Washington-based financial institution said that deep recessions associated with the pandemic will likely exacerbate the multi-decade slowdown in economic growth and productivity, the primary drivers of higher living standards and poverty reduction.

It said adding to the inequality problem from slow trend growth, the poor and vulnerable are among the hardest hit by the pandemic and economic shutdown – including through infection, school closures and lower remittance flows.

Measures needed to protect public health have undercut an already fragile global economy, causing deep recessions in advanced economies and emerging market and developing economies alike, the bank said.

In the long-term, the bank said the pandemic will leave lasting damage through multiple channels, including lower investment; erosion of physical and human capital due to the closure of businesses and loss of schooling and jobs; and a retreat from global trade and supply linkages.

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