Covid-19 recovery

Covid-19 has left a legacy of rising poverty and widening inequality

August 27, 2022

The past few years have deepened our understanding of the pandemic as we come to realise that Covid-19 has left a legacy of rising poverty and widening inequality. It is estimated that about 97 million people around the world are living on less than $1.9 a day. Further studies show that by 2030, the number of people facing poverty could jump by more than 60 million from what was previously predicted; some indicators suggest that half of this sudden rise could be permanent.

The Asian Development Bank has also revealed that the pandemic has set back the fight against poverty in the Asia-Pacific region by at least two years. This shows that the economic situation is particularly precarious for poor developing regions who have been hit most by Covid-19 restrictions. Apart from that, the virus has deeply affected the lives of working-class individuals due to increased life risks from job insecurity, mental health deterioration and lack of medical alternatives. Indicators also show that India will feel the biggest long-term impacts due to its relatively high population of vulnerable people. But now, with the pandemic taking a back seat, countries must opt for shifting gears. A period of recession can only be countered by prudent recovery measures. Therefore, it also depends on the recovery mechanisms that nations adopt in order to overcome the losses incurred. This will be a new challenge and the best option for now seems to be economic slowdown before looking to improve growth rates.

Pakistan has managed to cope well with the pandemic despite a shaky start, but economic and political instability still looms while circular debt continues to haunt us. Politicians must realise that Covid-19 recovery is of the utmost priority. We still need a long-term plan to repay debts and pave a path towards growth and development.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2022.

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