The International Monetary Fund is estimating this month that global growth for 2021 will be about 6 percent, the same as forecast in April, but with some countries growing faster and others more slowly, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.
Georgieva, speaking at an online event sponsored by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that economic recovery will be held back unless the pace of COVID-19 vaccination picks up, adding that a goal of ending the pandemic by the end of 2022 will not be reached at the current pace.
The IMF projected in April that 2021 global growth would hit 6 percent, a rate unseen since the 1970s, as vaccine availability improves and economies reopen with the help of unprecedented fiscal stimulus, particularly in the United States.
But Georgieva said the relative lack of vaccine access in developing countries and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant was threatening to slow the recovery’s momentum.
The IMF is scheduled to release its next World Economic Outlook forecast update on July 27, but Georgieva said the IMF’s projected global growth rate for this year would remain at 6 percent.
“It is 6 percent in July, but between April and July, the composition of this 6 percent has changed,” Georgieva said in the PIIE session with former European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
“Some countries are now projected to grow faster, some countries are now projected to grow slower. What is the difference? It is primarily the speed and effectiveness of vaccinations and availability of fiscal space to act,” Georgieva added.
She said an IMF-World Bank goal for countries to provide $50 billion to step up COVID vaccination rates will likely require more than the 11 billion doses initially envisioned, because booster shots may now be necessary, and to cover vaccine losses in some developing countries that lack sufficient cold storage facilities.