Marsh & McLennan Advantage Insights logo
Conversations and insights from the edge of global business
Menu Search

Quick Takes

Coronavirus Pushes Millions of Children Further Into Extreme Poverty

Source: World Bank & UNICEF

Globally, one-in-six children lived in extreme poverty prior to coronavirus. A UN study released in September showed that an additional 150 million children were already pushed into poverty as a result of the pandemic. This number will likely continue to grow from COVID-19’s impact on income generation and food security, according to a report by UNICEF and the World Bank Group. 

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 65.8% of children living in extreme poverty, followed by South Asia. Nearly 20% of children under five-years-old in developing countries live in extremely poor households. These regions especially have limited access to resources, such as water, education, food and electricity. Studies show that children in poverty have a higher chance of developing long-term health complications. 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to prioritize funding and international cooperation to help end extreme poverty by 2030. When the public and private sector work together with communities, “change happens: families move out of poverty, children are protected from diseases, girls become students, instead of brides, and much more,” according to the United Nations Foundation. 

Global Pilot Shortage Leaves Passengers Stranded

Airlines all over the world are facing a shortage of pilots and are struggling to meet demand as passengers return to air travel en masse. Large numbers of summer travelers have faced canceled and delayed flights as pilot, crew, and aircraft shortages cause strain on the aviation industry.

Experts warn that the staff shortages won’t end anytime soon—in the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 14,500 openings for airline and commercial pilots each year over the next decade. Oliver Wyman estimates that there will be a global gap of​​ 34,000 to 50,000 pilots by 2025.

The root causes of the pilot shortage stretch back before the pandemic. In the U.S., barriers include an aging workforce facing mandatory retirement, fewer pilots leaving the military, and the high cost of training. In China and other regions with growing air travel, airlines were struggling to expand capacity before COVID-19. During the pandemic, the staffing crisis was exacerbated by airlines firing pilots or offering them early retirement packages as demand plummeted.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Annual global greenhouse emissions rose by a record 6.4% last year, eclipsing gains made during 2020 lockdowns, reports the International Monetary Fund. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide decreased by 4.6% in 2020 as pandemic restrictions limited travel and economic activity.

Industry, as opposed to individuals, was the most significant contributor to emissions in 2021. The manufacturing and energy sectors had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases, while transportation and household levels rose more modestly as COVID-19 restrictions continued.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report warns that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest — and decrease 43% by 2030 — in order to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius. Limiting global warming “will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen),” said the IPCC.

The Riskiest Cities for Business Are in the Americas

Latin America has more than 60% of the most crime-stricken cities in the world, and crime risks are also rising in the U.S., according to analysis from consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Maplecroft analyzed which areas of the world present the biggest security threats to companies and their employees, assets and supply chains. The 100 most dangerous cities are distributed over the globe, with 33 cities from the Americas, 33 from Africa, 19 from Asia, 14 from MENA, and one from Europe (Kyiv).

Sixty-two of the 100 riskiest cities are in Latin America, with eight cities — including Chihuahua, Medellín and San Salvador — receiving the highest possible risk scores. U.S. cities also performed poorly compared to similarly high-income cities in Europe and East Asia. Cities that featured prominently in their risk index include Baltimore, Memphis and Jacksonville.

Eurozone Inflation Hits Record High

Soaring food and energy costs drove inflation in the eurozone to new highs in June, with consumer prices rising 8.6% since last year. Nearly half of the 19 countries in the euro currency bloc have reached double-digit inflation, including the Baltic region, where prices have risen by 20% or more. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed oil and natural gas prices up by more than 40%, as EU sanctions reduce Russian energy imports by more than half.

As the cost of living increases dramatically, consumers are cutting back and manufacturers are reporting a drop in sales and demand. In the U.K. alone, inflation has outstripped wages for the majority of workers, with one-fifth of British households saying they are struggling to make ends meet. Countries in the eastern eurozone are particularly vulnerable, including Slovakia, where inflation has risen to 12.5%.

The European Central Bank says it will increase rates for the first time in a decade in an attempt to curb inflation and the deteriorating economic outlook.

Get ahead in a rapidly changing world. Sign up for our daily newsletter. Subscribe
​​