Latin america and the caribbean represents the 8.4 percent of the world’s population, but it counts the 21 percent of infections of Covid-19 and 32.5 percent of deaths for this disease. It is clear that the region requires a common position to face the current crisis and thus move towards renewed international cooperation, “he said. Alicia barcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee on South-South Cooperation.

According to ECLAC, the pandemic exacerbated economic inequality between countries. “From the outbreak of the pandemic to March 2021, advanced economies mobilized 16.4 percent of GDP in additional spending and tax credits and 11.3 percent of GDP in loans, equity and guarantees, compared to the 10.7 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, in emerging markets. The response margin in low-income developing countries was even smaller, with additional expenditures and tax credits equivalent to 1.7 percent of GDP and 0.2 percent of GDP in loans, equity capital and guarantees “, indicates the report” Development in transition. Concept and measurement proposal for renewed cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean “prepared by the agency that depends on the United Nations.

The region in pandemic

Since the coronavirus outbreak began until June 28, the region registers 1,260,000 deaths due to the disease. “The impact of the health crisis has amplified structural problems on a massive scale and threatens to further root the economic, social and environmental traps that hinder the development of the region,” warns ECLAC.

The report estimates that the region’s GDP declined by 6.8 percent in 2020, representing its worst economic contraction in more than a century and the deepest of all developing world regions. In addition, the crisis caused an increase in the unemployment rate in the region, from 8.1 percent in 2019 to 10.5 percent in 2020.

The loss of jobs and the decrease in family income resulted in a increase in poverty levels. “The number of people living in poverty went from 185.5 million to 209 million between 2019 and 2020, with which the regional poverty rate increased from 30.5 to 33.7 percent. On the other hand, the number of people living in extreme poverty reached 78 million in 2020, 8 million more than before, so that the extreme poverty rate increased from 11.3 to 12.5 percent“the report adds.

Downward mobility

Between 2019 and 2020, the population whose income is located in the low income strata increased by 4.7 percentage points, which is equivalent to an increase of 31 million more people. In contrast, the middle-income strata contracted in a similar proportion (-4.1 percentage points or 25 million fewer people).

“Out of a total of around 59 million people who in 2019 belonged to the middle strata and who in 2020 would be experiencing a process of downward economic mobility, just over 25 million people would have done so while still belonging to the middle strata . In the meantime, slightly more than 3 million would have fallen directly into poverty or extreme poverty and the rest would have gone to the low-income stratum that is out of poverty, “the report details.

“Latin America and the Caribbean requires a common position to face global asymmetriessuch as access to vaccines, the concentration of wealth, the fight against climate change and financing for development. International development cooperation must evolve towards a multidimensional concept to face the challenges faced especially by middle-income countries, ”Bárcena asked.

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