COVID-19 global economic recession: Avoiding hunger must be at the centre of the economic stimulus
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast in January that the global economy would grow by 3.3 percent in 2020, however its latest outlook, in April, now forecasts a contraction of 3.0 percent, with no upside scenarios and numerous risks. The scenario presented in this brief predicts that if the anticipated global recession, due to the effects of COVID-19, were to trigger a reduction in the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) of between two and ten percentage points in all countries in 2020, then the number of undernourished people in net food-importing countries would increase by 14.4 million to 80.3 million, with the majority of the increase coming from low-income countries. Economic stimulus in all countries must be focused on keeping the food supply chains functioning, while also protecting access to locally-, regionally- and globally-produced food. Stimulus measures that tackle the current menace to food access should emphasize efforts to build resilience into food systems to safeguard them against future economic slowdowns and downturns.