The crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on Peru’s economy. In 2020, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 11% annually. In 2020, poverty rates based on the latest international comparable estimations, increased by more than six percentage points, compared to a year earlier, reaching 21.9%; whereas, in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, the increase was of less than five percentage points, reaching 30.9%. In years preceding the pandemic, public health expenditures stood at 4.9% of GDP, 0.2 percentage points higher than in 2010. This figure is lower than in LAC (6.8%) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries (8.8%), both of which experienced a similar slight increase. In 2020, 41.3% of Peruvians considered health care to be of good quality, a lower proportion than in LAC (48.2%) and the OECD (70.7%). Between March 2020 and May 2021, schools were fully closed for 26 weeks, the same as in LAC and higher than in the OECD (15 weeks). The disruption to education for children was particularly severe due to the lack of effective online learning, which was present in just 24.0% of schools, compared to 32.5% in LAC and 54.1% in the OECD.

To mitigate the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, Peru has implemented a wide range of support measures for the most vulnerable households, workers and enterprises. Concerning households, Peru implemented cash transfers for those living in poverty or extreme poverty and those located in geographical areas with the highest health risks (Bono Familiar Universal and Bono Yo Me Quedo En Casa). Likewise, Peru enacted a subsidy with a particular target on rural households that were excluded from traditional social assistance programmes during the pandemic (Bono Rural). In addition, Peru implemented the Trabaja Perú programme in 2020, targeting people living in poverty or extreme poverty through the generation of temporary jobs for investment projects and immediate intervention activities. To protect workers, Peru encouraged job preservation and hiring by granting a subsidy to private employers affected during the pandemic. Moreover, Peru authorised workers to withdraw pension funds without penalty and implemented a subsidy for self-employed workers (Bono Independiente).

Concerning the recovery, Peru’s medium- and long-term plans are based on the preservation of productive sustainability. Arranca Perú is a programme for economic resilience and job creation. It consists of subsidies for new jobs and support for business financing (e.g. Reactiva Perú, Fondo de Apoyo Empresarial a las MYPE and Programa de Apoyo Empresarial a las MYPES), which comprises loan portfolio guarantee programmes, promotion of public procurement for MYPE and various tax measures (e.g. investment promotion and tax relief). Peru will also implement the Strategic Plan for National Development to achieve the structural national objectives. The plan aims to tackle livelihoods, productivity, comprehensive social security and dialogue for the country’s integral development.

Peru’s international co-operation projects within and beyond the region respond to national development priorities while facing the adverse effects of COVID-19. Within LAC, Peru has engaged in various co-operation schemes to respond to the pandemic. These include rural migration (in co-operation with the Inter-American Development Bank), regional co-operation for climate management of agricultural ecosystems (with the Food and Agriculture Organization) and earthquake-resistant adobe construction techniques (with Argentina). Beyond LAC, Peru participated in diverse international partnerships to accelerate the response to COVID-19 (e.g. participation in Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, COVID-19 Vaccines Access [COVAX], COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response, and the international Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19). Additionally, Peru engaged in specific co-operation schemes to develop plans for the mitigation of the pandemic in indigenous communities and rural centres in the Amazon with Germany and Switzerland. Lastly, within the framework of the last phase (2020-21) of the EUROsociAL+ co-operation programme with the European Union, support has been provided to the most vulnerable population affected by the pandemic by strengthening the Protection Network for the Elderly and Disabled.


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