Vaccine costs have pushed many developing countries to the end of the Covid-19 inoculation queue, with most low-income nations not even lining up. What’s worse, less vaccinated poor nations cannot afford fiscal efforts to provide relief or stimulate recovery—let alone achieve Agenda 2030.
Instead of a health system striving to provide universal healthcare, a fragmented, profit-driven market “non-system” has emerged in recent decades. The 1980s’ neo-liberal counter-revolution against the historic 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration is responsible for this.
Hopes for an inclusive global economic recovery are fast fading. As rich countries have done little to ensure poor countries’ access to vaccines and fiscal resources, North-South “fault lines” will certainly widen.
At least 85 poor countries will not have significant access to coronavirus vaccines before 2023. Unfortunately, a year’s delay will cause an estimated 2.5 million avoidable deaths in low and lower-middle income countries.
Refusal to temporarily suspend several World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property (IP) provisions to enable much faster and broader progress in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic should be grounds for International Criminal Court prosecution for genocide.
The World Bank has been leading other multilateral development banks (MDBs) and international financial institutions to press developing country governments to “de-risk” infrastructure and other private, especially foreign investments.
The United Nations’ renamed World Social Report 2020 (WSR 2020) argued that income inequality is rising in most developed countries, and some middle-income countries, including China, the world’s fastest growing economy in recent decades.
The World Bank has finally given up defending its controversial, but influential Doing Business Report (DBR). In August, the Bank “paused” publication of the DBR due to a “number of irregularities” after its much criticised ranking system was exposed as fraudulent.
The World Bank leadership must urgently abandon its “Maximising Finance for Development” (MFD) hoax. Instead, it should resume its traditional multilateral development bank role of mobilising funds at minimal cost to finance developing countries.
As the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic shifts from China to the developed West, all too many rich countries are acting selfishly, invoking the “national interest”, by banning exports of vital medical supplies.