The IMF hosted a conversation between IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, and Melinda Gates, Co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday, October 14. The conversation was moderated by Becky Anderson, host of Connect the World on CNN International. The conversation debated how COVID-19 anywhere is an obstacle to the recovery everywhere and the need for investments—in testing, therapeutics, and vaccines—and global cooperation.
Georgieva expressed her concern that 2020 is a very dire year for the global economy, which will be shrinking by 4.4%. But she remains hopeful as the IMF projects that in 2021 there will be a growth of 5.2% because of the multiple vaccine trials already in motion.
“What we expect for next year is indeed that there will be success because so many vaccine trials are now in motion. But we are also realistically expecting that it would take time until a vaccine becomes available everywhere. And it would be probably all the way until the end of 2022, when the world with vaccines equipped with vaccines, will have deployed them universally,” said Georgieva.
Gates highlighted that women and most vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis and stressed that the equitable distribution of a vaccine is so important, given that the ultimate goal is swift recovery to push the economy, and the world, back on its feet.
“The idea is obviously we want the swiftest recovery we can around the world to reopen the global economy. So, you have to start with looking at health care workers, 70 percent of them are women. So around the globe, you need to get vaccine out first to health care workers because they are keeping us alive. Secondly, you have to get it out to the most vulnerable populations in country by country. There have been forecasts done that say if you take the first two billion doses of vaccines and they only get out to the high-income countries, you’re going to get twice as much death,” said Gates.
Georgieva announced that the G20 extended the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for poor countries for six more months and stressed that governments should spend to support their healthcare systems but keep the receipts for accountability.
“We lobbied the G20 to provide debt relief for poor countries, true debt service suspension and I am very happy we are talking today because the G20 just extended for six more months this debt service suspension for poor countries. So, they all have to choose between vaccinating their people and paying their creditors,” said Georgieva.
Gates advised policy makers and government officials to think about the crisis globally, because this is how it is attacking the world.
“We have to invest in vaccines for everybody, not the highest bidder, not this bilateral deal making, multi-lateral deal making, because we will bring the costs down and we will get everybody covered and we will take care of the global economy and get it building back faster,” said Gates.
To watch the full conversation click here