JOHANNESBURG – As the global trends on the spread of Covid-19 slowdown, the World Economic Forum anticipates an 8% growth in global merchandise trade volumes, ENN reports.

This forecast is based on the assumption that the production and distribution of vaccines to all corners of the world will not slow down, and the emergence of new variants of the pandemic will be minimal and kept under check.

 “Ramping up production of vaccines will allow businesses and schools to reopen more quickly and help economies get back on their feet,” the WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo‑Iweala was quoted saying.

In 2020, world trade in merchandise fell by 5.3% on the back of global travel embargos, business shutdowns and a malicious compliance by some businesses, schools and individuals to migrate their physical operations to digital business models against the wishes of their customers. This was particularly so in less developed countries where internet costs are high and the digital penetration rates are still low.

Global analysts intimated that a reboot of the digital sector and the subsequent boost in demand for electronic goods due to Covid-19 could anchor the recovery of global trade. However, most have remained sceptical on the possibilities of registering decent global economic growth in 2021. To date, over 147 million positive cases of Covid-19 have been recorded globally, with 3.1 million confirmed casualties as the pandemic takes its toll on humanity. With just over a billion doses having been administered globally, the global immunisation rate as of April 27, 2021, currently stands at 13.2%. This immunised fraction is 56.8 percentage points below the targeted 70% level for the attainment of global herd immunity.