The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) foresees a contraction of 9.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean this year, with poverty increased by up to 37.3% of the population, representing 230 million people. This was announced on Thursday in a report in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in which he warned that economic revival can only happen if the pandemic’s spread curve is flattened. Among other data, the agency projects an increase in unemployment to 13.5% and a significant increase in inequality, with an average increase in the Gini index of 4.9 percentage points. The report forecasts an increase of 4.5 percentage points in extreme poverty to 15.5%, involving 96 million people. According to the report released today at a joint press conference led by ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena and PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne, the high degrees of inequality accompanied by high levels of poverty, informality, social protection and limited access to timely and quality health, explain the high social costs that the pandemic is having in the region. The report argues that inequality in the region places certain groups in a special situation of vulnerability, including 85 million elderly people, informal workers, who make up 54% of regional employment, women (majority in informal activities, with increased unpaid work and increased exposure to domestic violence), 60 million people from indigenous peoples with communities who can disappear , people of African descent, 70 million people with disabilities and migrants. «All these groups require special attention that mitigates their special conditions of vulnerability,» the text apostills.» Advancing equality is critical to effective pandemic control and sustainable economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean. We must address the emergency and implement a strategy to overcome the structural weaknesses of economies and societies. That’s why changing the development strategy is essential in the region,» said Bárcena.