Reuters Growth in East Asia and the Pacific this year will likely be slower than previously thought, the World Bank said on Thursday, as many countries in the region grapple with spikes in COVID19 cases, new variants and vaccine supply constraints.
The East Asia and Pacific region, excluding China, is expected to grow 4 this year, World Bank President David Malpass said, down from a 4.4 forecast in March, with countries like conflicttorn Myanmar facing a deeperthanexpected slump.
Including China, which the global lender said will likely grow 8.5 in 2021, the region is expected to expand by 7.7 this year, faster than a 7.4 projection made in March, Malpass told a streamed news conference.
The speed by which nations could roll out vaccines remained a risk to the outlook, with many countries in the region unlikely to be able to fully vaccinate their population until 2024, Malpass said.
The immediate priority for developing countries is widespread access to COVID19 vaccines that match their deployment programmes, Malpass said.
The World Bank chief said he is concerned about developing nations falling behind in what has become a twospeed recovery with advanced economies posting a stronger rebound as more of their people get fully vaccinated.
This is the reason why we have a major focus on expanding the reach of vaccines, said Malpass, who earlier this month announced the bank was raising financing for COVID19 vaccine purchases and deployment to 20 billion from…