In September 2021, children in the northern hemisphere returned to school after the summer break. For some, the end of the holidays signaled a return to normalcy and to the joys of learning after facing months of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the majority of children in the Global South, however, the return to reality looked grimmer.
The guardians of the global economy convened in Washington this week to discuss their latest global growth forecasts. The World Bank-IMF Board of Governors meetings have been squarely focused on the global response to COVID-19, with economists warning of slowing momentum in wealthy nations and grossly uneven recoveries across the developing world.
Rondrotiana Barimalala is a climate researcher at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and a lead author for the IPCC report to the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report
titled Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis
In 2020, every human on Earth created an average of at least 1.7 megabytes of data per second, collectively amassing 2.5 quintillion data bytes
. Some 90% of the world’s total data was created in the last two years alone
For the first time in decades, Jordan’s economy contracted in 2020. COVID-19 took a heavy toll on the economy, and it was concerning for the country, particularly because Jordan had managed to grow at an average rate of 2%, despite regional and international shocks to its economy amounting to 44% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the past decade.
Last week the World Bank announced it was “discontinuing” its “Doing Business” report, which ranks countries on the ease of opening and operating a company.
As developing countries struggle to cope with the pandemic, they risk being set back further by restrictive fiscal policies. These were imposed by rich countries who no longer practice them if they ever did. Instead, the global South urgently needs bold policies to ensure adequate relief, recovery and reform.
A pre-pandemic report published by the International Labor Organization, ILO, the Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020
, offered a sober analysis on the job market prospects for youth.
The world faces multiple crises: climate change, extreme weather events, food security and biodiversity. For African nations, these issues are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and epidemic outbreaks that include Rift Valley Fever and Malaria. With 35 African Union Member States as signatories to its establishment Treaty, the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group – comprising of ARC Agency and ARC Limited - works with Governments to help improve their capacities to better plan, prepare, and respond to extreme weather disasters and natural disasters.
Hopes for an inclusive global economic recovery are fast fading. As rich countries have done little to ensure poor countries’ access to vaccines and fiscal resources, North-South “fault lines
” will certainly widen.
Enhancing relief, recovery, transformation
While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised
rich countries’ recovery prospects upward, the United Nations (UN) notes formidable challenges, especially for developing countries, due to the pandemic.
Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS
) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism.
For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a partnership of some of the world’s most powerful corporations, is partnering the UN in launching the Summit, now scheduled for September, with its ‘Pre-Summit’ beginning today.
Too many have swallowed the myth that lowering corporate income tax (CIT) is necessary to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for growth. Although contradicted by their own research, this lie has long been promoted by influential international economic institutions.
In 2020, Southeast Asian countries were already facing varied challenges that affected the region’s food supplies and prices. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic later in the year exacerbated the region’s food insecurity and poverty. Southeast Asian countries need to take a hard look at food security, even as the double challenges — climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic — continue to fester.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has spoken today urging the international community to make crucial changes to how it delivers finance to developing nations, proposing a new system that moves beyond the use of GDP as the sole criteria for receiving certain types of support.
COVID-19 has become a “developing country pandemic
”, retreating from the North’s mass vaccination. With developing countries heavily handicapped, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns
of a “dangerous [new] divergence”.
Last week, the largest rich countries, home to most major transnational corporations (TNCs), agreed to a global minimum corporate income tax (GMCIT) rate. But the low rate proposed and other features will deprive developing countries of their just due yet again.
With the pandemic setting back past, modest and uneven progress, huge disparities in containing COVID-19 and financing government efforts are widening the North-South gap and other inequalities once again.
A Muslim call centre operator at a COVID-19 ‘war room’, who once saw himself a COVID-warrior, is now unemployed after being falsely branded by a top politician as a key member of a bed-for-bribe scam. He is a victim of the rise in Islamophobia in India as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic – with scant evidence of condemnation from the authorities, say activists.
Last year, the Asia-Pacific region recorded its worst economic performance in decades. With the pandemic far from over, the region’s recovery is slow, fragile and highly uneven both across and within countries. As the region struggles to recover, how can countries rebuild their economies and revive their development?
Pandemic relief measures in developing countries have been limited by modest resources, fear of financial market discipline and policy mimicry. COVID-19 has triggered not only an international public health emergency, but also a global economic crisis, setting back decades of uneven progress
, especially in developing countries.
Failure to sufficiently accelerate comprehensive efforts to contain COVID-19 contagion has greatly worsened the catastrophe in developing countries. Grossly inadequate financing of relief, recovery and reform efforts has also further set back progress, including sustainable development.