LatAm to see growth in 2021, but below pre-pandemic levels, warns UN agency

SANTIAGO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Latin America and the Caribbean will see economic growth in 2021, but not enough to match pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said on Wednesday.

According to the United Nations agency, the regional economy will plunge 7.7 percent in 2020, then see a positive growth rate of 3.7 percent in 2021, “insufficient for recovering the economic activity levels seen prior to the coronavirus pandemic.”

ECLAC released its “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020” – one of its flagship annual reports – during a virtual press conference given by the agency’s Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region in the developing world hardest impacted by COVID-19, following a decade of low-growth, said the report.

“The process of recovering pre-crisis levels of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be slow and will not conclude until 2024,” it added.

Barcena recommended, among other things, that the region make “a productive transformation towards environmentally sustainable sectors, which would favor job creation and technological innovation.”

However, national efforts alone will not be enough. “The region’s economic reactivation and transformation will require financing and international cooperation,” the report said.

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