The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) announced that the regional domestic product (GDP) will grow -7.7 percent in 2020, which will generate the worst economic crisis in the last 120 years.
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ECLAC also forecasts a growth rate of 3.7 percent in 2021, which will fail to recover the levels of economic activity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
South America would contract -7.3 percent in 2020 and grow 3.7 percent in 2021; Central America would fall -6.5 percent in the current period and expand 3.8 percent next year; while figures for the Caribbean would show a contraction of -7.9 percent in 2020 and a growth of 4.2 percent in 2021.
In 2021, the GDP growth will be subject to high uncertainty related to the risk of new COVID-19 outbreaks, the agility to produce and distribute vaccines, and the ability to maintain fiscal and monetary aid package.
ECLAC also advised the extension of basic income to people in poverty, the provision of funds to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the promotion of social protection systems in order to prevent the region from persisting in its low growth dynamics.
The pandemic's impact has been accompanied by a considerable increase in poverty and inequality. The regional unemployment rate is expected to be around 10.7 percent in 2020.
ECLAC also advocated the capitalization of multilateral, regional, and national credit institutions, noting that the region showed a low growth trajectory (on average 0.3 percent in 2014-2019) prior to the pandemic.