The global economy is expected to expand 5.6% this year, 1.5 percentage points faster than projected in January and the fastest post-recession pace in 80 years, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. Fueled by widespread Covid-19 vaccinations in advanced nations, the world economic recovery has picked up speed, the World Bank said on Tuesday. However, many countries, especially poor nations, are being left behind and will take years to return to their pre-pandemic levels, said World Bank Group President David Malpass, adding that globally coordinated efforts are essential to accelerate vaccine distribution and debt relief, particularly for low-income countries.
The World Bank cut its forecasts for about 40% of emerging markets and developing nations. Those countries will expand by only 4.4 percent. The report also cut the forecast for low-income countries for this year and next. That group is expected to expand by only 2.9 percent, the slowest growth in two decades other than 2020. By the end of this year, more than 100 million people are expected to have fallen back into extreme poverty, the World Bank cautions.
If vaccine distribution to developing countries can be accelerated, said World Bank economist Ayhan Kose, 2022 global GDP growth, currently forecast at 4.3%, could increase to around 5%. He noted that most economies will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 and beyond.