IMF Cuts Global Economic Forecast | Editorial

Pakistan has fared better than most countries in the world right through the Covid-19 pandemic, but that does not mean that the global threat is receding. In fact, so devastating has been the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that most countries have had to go back to lockdowns as their healthcare systems came under more strain than they could handle. And now the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has said that things are still going to get worse before they get any better. And the number one reason is what it calls the vaccine divide as poor countries are lagging rich ones in administering required doses to their populations.

The global economy is now bracing for cumulative $5.3 trillion in losses over the next five years because of this imbalance. And unless the rich countries step forward and share their stockpiles of vaccines with other countries, the road to recovery could be even longer. So far, though, it doesn’t seem as if any country is willing to share its stock of vaccines with others, except of course the humanitarian gestures, like the one made by China to Pakistan. But overall, there is no such trend internationally; at least not in volumes that would matter.

This is strange because, as the international lender reminded the world, it is very much in the interest of rich countries to make sure that poor countries also survive the pandemic. Because if the latter don’t make it, or their economies are too compromised at the end of it, then who will the former trade with and what will become of the supply chains that have been erected over decades and centuries? Therefore, while it is understandable that every country would want to hold on to its reserves of vaccines, given the circumstances, yet it is also important for them to take others along; for everybody’s benefit. Hopefully the IMF’s stern warning will do the trick and encourage a more egalitarian distribution of vaccines. *

Source: Published in Daily Times​

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