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Strong post-COVID recovery beckons for the world

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s revised estimate for the global economy to grow at 5.8 per cent, compared with the 4.2 per cent it had predicted in December, is good news for countries at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic — but a lot of work lies ahead for them.

The OECD figures are a great indicator that the world is recovering faster than expected from the pandemic, and coincides with two other significant assessments that came out last week.

The UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) noted that the pandemic has pushed more than 100 million more workers into poverty, cautioning that employment was not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. And an AFP tally estimated that more than two billion Covid-19 vaccines have been given across the world — a milestone reached six months after the first vaccination campaigns began.

While acknowledging that prospects for the world economy had brightened, the OECD also warned that growth would not be shared evenly. According to OECD, stimulus measures and swift vaccine rollouts across countries will be pivotal to global economic recovery in the coming months — with slow vaccine distribution in many developing countries threatening to blight their economic progress.

The OECD forecast reflects the key role that vaccination plays in supporting post-pandemic economic recovery — a strategy that the UAE was one of the earliest to adopt globally.

The UAE’s wide bouquet of vaccines for its citizens and residents in a fast-moving programme, proactive handling of health protocols and a raft of economic reforms and stimulus adopted since the beginning of the pandemic have been the key factors why its economy is on track for a swift recovery. The UAE Central Bank estimates a 2.5 per cent growth in real GDP in 2021, with a 3.6 per cent growth in non-oil real GDP.

At the same time, the UAE has also been helping out other communities hit by the pandemic — sending millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses to more than 26 countries under several humanitarian initiatives.

This pandemic playbook needs to be adopted by other countries around the world as one of the most effective array of measures to curb the virus. In addition, the production and equitable distribution of vaccines globally must be stepped up immediately — and the US decision to share its surplus of 80 million vaccines with the COVAX alliance is a good start.

It is only with the collective collaboration of countries and the effective rollout of vaccination programmes everywhere that the global economic outlook can become even more promising and sustainable for everyone.