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A COVID-19 Response for the World’s Poor

The poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are facing pandemic-induced economic and public-health emergencies that demand immediate action. G20 leaders therefore must agree now on measures to prevent the current recession from deepening, and to mitigate its impact on the world’s most vulnerable people.

LONDON – G20 leaders urgently need to reconvene to agree on an enhanced and more strongly coordinated global response to the COVID-19 crisis. Although lockdowns are being eased in many places, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide recently reached its highest level yet, while the pandemic’s devastating economic toll continues to mount as new epicenters arise in the emerging and developing world.

We are at a critical moment, because the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are facing economic and public-health emergencies that demand immediate action. A diverse group of middle-income economies need help, too. Together, these countries represent nearly 70% of the world’s population and account for approximately one-third of global GDP.

Their needs will grow more acute in the months and years ahead. The International Labor Organization expects that global working hours in the second quarter of 2020 will be 10.5% below pre-crisis levels, equivalent to the loss of more than 300 million full-time jobs. And, for the first time this century, global poverty is rising.

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