Sub-Saharan Africa is in the grips of a third wave of COVID-19 infections that threatens to be even more brutal than the two that came before.
The COVID-19 crisis is inflicting the most pain on those who are already most vulnerable. This calamity could lead to a significant rise in income inequality.
And it could jeopardize development gains, from educational attainment to poverty reduction. New estimates
suggest that up to 100 million people worldwide could be pushed into extreme poverty, erasing all gains made in poverty reduction in the past three years.
Looking back to the start of 2020, the world has changed almost beyond recognition. To protect public health, the global economy was put into stasis. Shops closed, factories were mothballed, and people’s freedom of movement was severely curtailed.
No country has escaped the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Tragically, more than 260,000 people have died and millions have been infected. The IMF is projecting global economic activity to decline on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. It is truly a crisis like no other.
I have been saying for a while that this is a ‘crisis like no other
.’ It is:
• More complex, with interlinked shocks to our health and our economies that have brought our way of life to an-almost complete stop;
• More uncertain, as we are learning only gradually how to treat the novel virus, make containment most effective, and restart our economies; and
• Truly global. Pandemics don’t respect borders, neither do the economic shocks they cause.
When I think of the incredible challenges we must confront in the face of a changing climate, my mind focuses on young people. Eventually, they will be the ones either to enjoy the fruits or bear the burdens resulting from actions taken today.