IMF calls for rapid action to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines
The International Monetary Fund's chief economist called on world governments to improve low-and-middle income countries' access to vaccines in order to avoid downside risks.
According to Gita Gopinath, multilateral action to ensure rapid, worldwide access to Covid-19 shots would save countless lives, prevent new variants from emerging and add trillions of dollars to global economic growth.
The Fund's updated economic forecasts for 2021 said as much.
Global GDP was still seen expanding by 6.0% in 2021, the same as the IMF projected in April, but while the outlook for advanced economies had brightened, that for emerging market and developing economies had darkened.
The reason? Disparate access to vaccines.
Nearly 40.0% of advanced economy populations had already been inoculated, in comparison to just 11.0% in emerging market economies and only a tiny fraction in low-income developing countries, Gopinath wrote in the IMF's blog.
On a more positive note, the lender's 2022 global GDP growth forecast had been revised up by half a percentage point to 4.9%.
But here too, developed economies accounted for the bulk of the expected improvement thanks to fiscal stimulus in the pipeline in the US and European Union.
That was in contrast to many emerging market and developing economies which were attempting to rebuild their fiscal buffers.
There was especially good news to be had for the UK, as the world's financial watchdog upped its 2021 UK GDP forecast sharply, from 5.3% to 7.0%.
So the UK was now expected to grow as quickly as the US in 2021 and at the joint-fastest pace among developed countries.
The next two fastest-growing economies were projected to be Canada, at 6.3%, and Spain at 6.2%.
China was expected to fare best among emerging market and developing economies.
Fund economists projected that Chinese GDP was set to expand by 8.1% in 2021 and by 5.7% in 2022, even after the country's economy managed to avoid a contraction in 2022, when it reportedly grew by 2.3%.