BEIJING (AP) – The World Bank on Tuesday cut its economic growth forecast for developing East Asian countries due to the impact of the delta variant of the coronavirus and called on governments to help the poor and small businesses to avoid long-term damage.
Excluding the surprisingly strong growth in China, developing countries in East Asia are expected to grow 2.5% this year, down from a forecast of 4.4% in April, the based lender said. in Washington in a report. He said China, the region’s largest economy, is expected to grow 8.5 percent.
The region “suffers a setback” after China, Vietnam and other governments contained outbreaks of the coronavirus last year, the bank said. He said business activity in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and other economies was improving but “now showing signs of slowing”.
“The region is hit hard by the COVID-19 Delta variant as many advanced economies are on the path to economic recovery,” the World Bank said. “COVID-19 will reduce growth and increase inequality unless scars are addressed and opportunities seized. “
The region needs to increase vaccine production due to unreliable imports and high demand, the bank said. He said governments must also use testing, tracing and isolation to contain infections and strengthen their health systems.
To avoid long-term economic damage, the bank said governments must support productive enterprises and encourage new competitors, promote technological development and reduce trade barriers.
Countries also need to improve “social protection” by expanding the poor’s access to “needs-based assistance,” the bank said.