IN yet another sign of turmoil unleashed by the ever changing Corona pandemic, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, while addressing an event in Washington warned that new Omicron variant of Covid-19 could slow the global economic recovery.
The new variant has spread rapidly to at least forty countries since it was first reported in South Africa and many governments have tightened travel rules to keep it out.
The emergence of Omicron has already led to a major crash in global stock and oil markets, reflecting investors’ concerns over the effect of new coronavirus restrictions could have on economic growth.
These concerns are additionally fuelled by uncertainty regarding the new variant’s virulence and the possibility it could resist existing vaccines.
The fact of matter is that the new variant could have been averted if developed world would not have only looked inwards only but ensured equitable distribution of vaccine to developing and poor countries.
The latest threat once again poses a major challenge to the livelihoods of people in developing world whose economies had already been struggling to cope with the pandemic.
The developed world and international lenders especially the IMF and the World Bank will have to demonstrate open heartedness and help poor countries better deal the situation.
In our view, restructuring their debt as well as providing grants and concessions to them will be a great step to rejuvenate the global economy.
For this additional and substantial finances should be mobilised. A common development agenda is need of the hour to return to the path of sustainable growth.
Most importantly, it must be ensured that existing or any new vaccine against the virus reaches every country in adequate numbers to ensure maximum vaccination of people. Otherwise, the pandemic will continue to haunt us again and again.