As U.S. Economy Roars Back, Life in Many Poor Countries Gets Worse – The Wall Street Journal


Powered by the U.S. and China, the global economy is set to make a stunning comeback this year from its deepest contraction since the Great Depression, economists say.

For many developing countries, though, 2021 is shaping up to look a lot like 2020, with the pandemic still raging and poverty deepening.

“Here in Washington, D.C., people are literally talking about the Roaring 20s and, you know, letting the doors fly off the U.S. economy,” said Geoffrey Okamoto, the International Monetary Fund’s first deputy managing director. “But the harsh reality is for the poorest countries, they’re not looking at vaccines being delivered to them until well into next year,” which means slower economic recoveries and more pain for the poor.

José Luís Rosas, a guide at Peru’s Machu Picchu ruins, survived 2020 by drawing down his pension and transferring his two young daughters from private to public school. Now, with foreign tourists unlikely to return this year, a slow vaccination drive and surging Covid-19 infections, Mr. Rosas said he may have no choice but to move his family to his parents’ remote village to farm avocados, mangos and limes.

“I work only to eat, to buy cooking gas, a little bit of meat,” he said. “There isn’t anything to save—the only thing I’m working for is to survive.”


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