Effects of COVID-19 on Developing Countries

Last Modified:16 Mar 2023 15:35:33
Effects of COVID-19 on Developing Countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on developing countries, exacerbating existing challenges and creating new obstacles to economic growth and development. According to reports, developing countries may account for as much as 86 percent of excess deaths due to COVID-19, highlighting the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the economic shockwaves of the pandemic, as their economies are heavily reliant on commodity exports, tourism, remittances, and capital inflows. The global shock to these industries has constrained developing countries' balance of payments, exacerbating existing debt burdens and limiting their ability to provide adequate health and social protection measures.

Some of the significant challenges that developing countries face include limited fiscal space and high debt levels, weak health systems and low vaccination rates, lack of access to digital technologies and infrastructure, and high informality and poverty rates. These challenges have exposed millions of workers and households to income losses, food insecurity, and other socio- economic risks.

The pandemic's long-term consequences on developing economies are also concerning, with lower growth prospects and productivity levels, higher inequality and social unrest, and greater environmental degradation and climate risks. Reduced investment, human capital accumulation, and innovation are likely to result in lower growth prospects and productivity levels, while increased poverty, unemployment, and exclusion could lead to higher inequality and social unrest. Furthermore, the pandemic's economic fallout has widened the financing gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, jeopardizing progress towards eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, and addressing climate change.

To address these challenges, developing countries require tailored support from the international community, including debt relief, increased development assistance, and improved access to vaccines, digital technologies, and infrastructure. Furthermore, policymakers must prioritize investments in health and social protection systems, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and strengthen social safety nets to ensure that vulnerable populations are not left behind. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for international cooperation and solidarity in addressing global crises and promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Developing countries face unique challenges and require targeted support to mitigate the pandemic's economic and social impacts and achieve long-term sustainable development goals.

Some of the developing countries that are most affected by COVID-19 include:

  •   - Brazil, which has recorded more than 32 million cases and 672,000 deaths - the world’s second-highest official death toll.
  •   - Peru, which has reported over 2.5 million cases and 200,000 deaths - the world’s highest death rate per capital.
  •   - India, which has registered more than 38 million cases and 460,000 deaths - the world’s third-highest official death toll.
  •   - South Africa, which has confirmed more than 3.1 million cases and 87,000 deaths - the highest numbers in Africa.

These countries have faced multiple challenges such as limited testing capacity, weak health systems, high poverty rates, political instability and social unrest due to COVID-19.


Author: Pooyan Ghamari, Swiss Economist and Visionary in Global Markets and Finances