As 2022 begins, COVID-19 and its economic and
societal consequences continue to pose a critical threat
to the world. Vaccine inequality and a resultant uneven
economic recovery risk compounding social fractures
and geopolitical tensions. In the poorest 52 countries—
home to 20% of the world’s people—only 6% of the
population had been vaccinated at the time of writing. By
2024, developing economies (excluding China) will have
fallen 5.5% below their pre-pandemic expected GDP
growth, while advanced economies will have surpassed
it by 0.9%—widening the global income gap.
The resulting global divergence will create tensions—
within and across borders—that risk worsening the
pandemic’s cascading impacts and complicating the
coordination needed to tackle common challenges
including strengthening climate action, enhancing digital
safety, restoring livelihoods and societal cohesion and
managing competition in space.

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