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302. United Nations: World Economic Situation and Prospects as of Mid-2021

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In May 2021, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs released a report on the global economic situation and prospects as of mid-2021.

According to the report, after contracting by 3.6% in 2020, the global economy is expected to grow by 5.4% in 2021, a recovery from the beginning of the year. The outlook for the global economy has improved in recent months, buoyed by a robust economic recovery supported by accelerated vaccination and fiscal and monetary support measures, particularly in the two largest economies, China and the United States. In contrast, economic recovery in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean has been hampered by rising numbers of new coronavirus infections and slow vaccination. In many countries, it will take until around 2022 or 2023 for economic activity to return to pre-pandemic levels. These widening economic disparities and disparities in vaccination coverage are overshadowing the achievement of the 2021 global economic growth rate. Global economic recovery is contingent on the speed of ending the pandemic.

Global trade is already above pre-pandemic levels, driven by strong demand for electrical and electronic equipment and personal protective equipment. The report notes that while these countries with strong product manufacturing and exporting capabilities have been able to overcome the crisis and successfully recover, the recovery of tourism- and commodity-dependent economies is unlikely to be immediate. The service sector, as typified by tourism, is expected to remain stagnant for some time due to delays in deregulation of international migration and fears of a new wave of infections in developing countries.

The report also mentioned that the pandemic has had a particularly negative impact on women. Women are burdened with unpaid housework and care work, and lack the opportunity to participate in decision-making, such as those that determine economic policies to combat the pandemic. The report stressed the need for policies that target the segments of society most impacted by the crisis, such as women.

As we have discussed several times in this Pick Up, COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on the economy and food and nutrition security, also through the channels of the global food system. In addition to acute food and nutrition security, COVID-19 is causing a crisis in human development by increasing socioeconomic disparities and access to opportunities in the medium and long term. Improving agriculture, forestry, and fisheries technologies in developing regions with fragile production systems, which is the mission of JIRCAS, is a priority to correct the imbalances in the global food system.

United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Economic Analysis. World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2021. 11 May 2021 https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/wesp2021_update_1.pdf

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Director, Information Program)

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