The World Bank has predicted that South Asia will fall to its worst economic outcome in 40 years. The nations are now facing challenges that could bring misery to the front end of the countries of South Asia – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh – despite decades of success in fighting poverty.
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other smaller countries have a combined population of over 1.8 billion in some of the most densely-populated areas. So far, relatively few cases of coronavirus have been identified by the nations but experts anticipate they could be the next epicenter of the virus.
The World Bank says…
“South Asia is in complete chaos of adverse reactions, with massive lockdowns freezing most usual activities. South Asia will become the closest epicenter for a Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism has totally dried up, supply chains have been broken, demand for apparel has plummeted, and market and customer expectations have worsened, resulting in a significant number of poor people unexpectedly unemployed.”
The Covid-19 after effects were expected to lower the region’s growth outlook to 1.8 – 2.8 per cent from its pre-pandemic estimate of 6.3 per cent.
In India, for example, the biggest lock-down in the world took hundreds of thousands of migrant workers back home, many of them on foot.
the World Bank advises:
- Governments need to ramp up action to curb the health emergency, protect their people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and set the stage for a fast economic recovery.
- Including Preparing weak healthcare systems, safety nets and securing access to food, medical supplies and necessities
- Temporary work programs for migrant workers
- Debt relief for business and individuals
- Cutting down on imports and exports goods
The bank’s Hartwig Schafer says…
“Once the crisis is over, governments need urgently to pursue ‘innovative policies’ and jumpstart economies. Failure to do so can lead to long-term growth disruptions and reverse hard-won progress in reducing poverty.”
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