Braking Down The News

Global Wealth Gap Likely to Widen as Major Economies Power Recovery, World Bank Says

Bank projects fastest economic rebound in 80 years, but uneven vaccine distribution is hurting low-income countries


WASHINGTON—Global inequality is likely to widen this year as a small number of major economies power the fastest recovery in 80 years while many poorer countries struggle to return to pre-pandemic income levels, the World Bank said.

The global economy is set to grow by 5.6% this year, up from a January forecast of 4.1%, marking the fastest recovery from five post-World War II recessions, the bank said Tuesday in its semiannual Global Economic Prospects report.

“While there are welcome signs of global recovery, the pandemic continues to inflict poverty and inequality on people in developing countries around the world,” David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group, said. The bank provides loans and technical advice to developing and emerging economies.

While about 90% of advanced economies are expected to regain their pre-pandemic per capita income levels by 2022, only about one-third of emerging-market and developing nations are likely to do so, the bank said, in part because of uneven access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The Covid-ravaged global economy shrank an estimated 3.5% in 2020, the bank said. While the rebound is forecast to continue next year with growth of  4.3%, the level of output will remain 2% below pre-pandemic projections.


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