Economic Commentary: Themes of the First Half of 2021


  • Themes Of The First Half-Year

Editor’s Note: This week, we reflect on the biggest stories we’ve covered so far in 2021. Each will likely remain a big story during the balance of the year.

The Jabs and the Jab-Nots

In major economies, public health has improved substantially this year. Vaccinations have enabled countries to relax restrictions on commerce, travel and social gatherings.

The U.S. and the U.K. have fully inoculated almost half of their populations and are now in a summer boom. But many countries in the developed and emerging worlds (like Japan and India), which have been slow to vaccinate their populations, are lagging and remain vulnerable to outbreaks. The world’s poorest 29 countries (a majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa) are struggling to deal with the virus, with less than 1% of their populations even partially vaccinated.

As a result, these countries face much weaker growth prospects. According to the World Bank’s forecasts, high-income countries, where inoculation rates have generally been improving, are set to grow at an average of 5.3% this year compared to 2.9% growth in low-income countries.

IMF proposal to end the pandemic