COVID-19's Effect on Latin American GDP Growth

By Holly K. Sonneland

No country is immune to the effects of the pandemic, which is reshaping the global economy. We look at revised IMF and World Bank numbers.

As a region, Latin America and the Caribbean was already projected to face the lowest 2020 GDP growth in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2019, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both forecasted the region would see growth of just 1.8 percent this year.

Then came the storm. The World Bank updated its figure for the region to a 4.6 percent contraction and the IMF a 5.2 percent contraction in semiannual reports released in the second week of April. In a pandemic-free panorama, just two countries (Argentina and Nicaragua) were expected to see their economies shrink this year. Now, all of them are with the exception of the Dominican Republic, which the World Bank expects to stagnate exactly at 0.0 percent growth, and Guyana, which will still see a historic economic expansion, albeit a curtailed one, as it inaugurates its oil sector.

But it doesn’t have to be all bad news. As the virus fundamentally reshapes the global economy, there’s an opportunity for Latin American countries to take greater control of the production chain from China, says AS/COA President and Susan Segal, as well as an open door for the private sector to step up and pitch in financially to bolster their respective countries’ recovery.