- The unequal recovery in 2021 and unequal distribution of vaccines were top areas of concern in various geographies.
- The World Bank in its recent report has called 2021 to be the year of the Inequality Pandemic.
- The effects of the pandemic are multi-dimensional, impacting almost all aspects of human life.
As the world has entered the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the third wave hitting across nations quite sharply, it is crucial to have a flashback of how humanity as a whole performed in 2021 to combat the virus.
How does one measure progress- when more resources are available to everyone in the society at affordable rates, when the human society breaks the barriers and advances to greater heights. But is this advancement of any use if it's only divided among a few rich nations? It is some food for thought!
In 2020, extreme poverty rose for the first time in over two decades. It is understandable that the world was not ready for the coronavirus pandemic; thus, it took a year to merely adapt to the crisis. However, the unequal recovery in 2021 and unequal distribution of vaccines only made the matters worse.
The World Bank in its recent report has called 2021, the year of the Inequality Pandemic. Let’s analyse the aspects covered in the report.
Unequal distribution of vaccines: It is the ground reality that only through mass vaccination; we can win over the coronavirus pandemic. However, there are huge discrepancies as only 7% people in economically weaker nations are receiving the doses. While in rich nations about 75% are receiving them.
Uneven economic recovery: Like the case of unequal vaccine distribution; the gap between rich and low-income countries is expanding due to the coronavirus pandemic. The world bank has reported that by the end of the year 2021; the rich nations, especially BRICS, were recovering at a rate of 7.5%; when the low-income nations stood at 2.9%.
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Trade disruption: There is a direct correlation between trade recovery and global economic recovery. Within the span of 1990 and 2017; global trade expanded, and thus extreme poverty declined, according to the World Bank. However, the low-income countries don’t have fiscal earnings to combat pandemic influenced losses; thus, they directly depend upon trade. And, because of global trade disruptions, the poor nations have been impacted the most.
Debt levels mounting high: According to the World Bank, the pandemic has pushed the poor countries' debts to the highest level in the last 50 years. Government and private debt percentage of GDP in the emerging market and developing economies has risen sharply. The crisis is severe for the poorest nations, which were already under the pile of huge debts before the pandemic.
Learning-poverty rises for the poor: World Bank analyses the effect on education due at school closures. The rich section of the society has alternative means to substitute in-school learning; however, the poor suffer the grind. According to their recent report, the percentage of 10-year-old children, who cannot read a basic text – can reach up to 70% in poor nations.
Conclusively, the effects of the pandemic are multi-dimensional. They have touched upon almost all aspects of human life. Life across rich nations might be progressing; but earning basic livelihood has become a significant problem for millions.