Without a multinational response, the coronavirus pandemic could increase poverty in Colombia to levels not seen in 20 years, the country’s vice-president said Monday.
In an interview with Red Mas Noticias, VP Marta Lucia Ramirez shared the concerns of the United Nations, whose Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said in late March it projected poverty to increase 18% in the region.
However, with the global economy still unstable, no projection of the damage to the economy and its effects on poverty in Colombia could be considered reliable.
Colombia’s poverty rates
Source: World Bank / DANE
Ramirez urged for the creation of an international fund that would allow the recovery of businesses and jobs lost during the pandemic and in efforts to prevent mass coronavirus deaths.
We risk losing the efforts of the last 10 or 20 years to reduce poverty levels. In Colombia, President Ivan Duque is leading a whole state effort with the private sector, so that the country does not go backwards in this aspect, but, on the contrary, are able to advance in labor matters and in the access of women to formal work, to decent work and to sustainable enterprise.
Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez
According to government data, a 20-year relapse in poverty reduction implies that half Colombia’s population could drop below the poverty line.
Both the government and the central bank are struggling to control the damage of not just the coronavirus, but also a collapse in oil prices and the global economy that has entered into recession and possibly a depression.
At the same time, the government must prevent a collapse of the country’s fragile healthcare system, of which the consequences both in human lives and economic consequences are incalculable.
Duque announced on Monday he would seek the reopening of construction and manufacturing, but without much support from mayors and governors who are concerned at the human cost of exposing workers to the risk of infection.