Economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will slow sharply this year amid uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, low investment and inflationary pressures, a UN body said Wednesday.
The region's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 2.1 percent in 2022, compared with 6.2 percent in 2021, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) predicted.
"There's going to be a very significant slowdown in growth throughout the region," said Alicia Barcena, ECLAC's executive secretary, describing the outlook as "very worrying."
The report forecasts growth of 6.1 percent for the Caribbean economy as tourism rebounds, compared with 4.5 percent for Central America and 1.4 percent for South America.
Brazil, the region's largest economy, will grow by just 0.5 percent this year, while Mexico's GDP will rise 2.9 percent, it predicted.
Inflationary pressures, caused by higher food and energy prices, are expected to persist in 2022, the report warned.
About 30 percent of the jobs lost in 2020 were not recovered in 2021, it said.
"The expected slowdown in the region in 2022, combined with the problems of low investment and productivity, poverty and inequality, calls for growth and employment creation to be central elements of public policymaking while at the same time addressing inflationary pressures," Barcena said.