UN improves Latin American growth forecast for 2021Thursday, April 29, 2021
SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — Latin American countries should register GDP growth of 4.1 per cent on average in 2021, a UN agency said, a better figure than previously forecast but not enough to make up for coronavirus losses.
The previous forecast of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in December, had been for growth of 3.7 per cent in 2021.
In 2020, the region saw its economy contract 7.1 per cent as it was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The updated growth projection, said ECLAC executive secretary Alicia Barcena, will not allow the region "to return to the level of (economic) activity before the pandemic".
Furthermore, the region's economic recovery depended on numerous "uncertainties," including access to vaccines and the shots' efficacy, which was "also not guaranteed," she said.
Hard-hit by the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean risk a recovery that will be "asymmetrical, divergent, and lead to more disparities," said Barcena.
The region now has about 44 million unemployed people, a situation the ECLAC boss said was due to "old structural" problems in Latin America's economic development that worsened the pandemic hit.
Any future recovery will have to include significant structural, fiscal and institutional reforms, said the commission, to allow for "inclusive and sustainable development".
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