Brazil favelas launch bank amid economic hit of pandemic

5 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

SAO PAULO: The economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic has hit especially hard in Brazil’s favelas, but the country’s 10 biggest slums now have a plan to fight back: they are launching their own bank.

Dubbed the “G10 Bank,” the new financial institution is set to open later this month, offering micro-loans to small business owners struggling to survive the pandemic and debit cards to slum-dwellers excluded from the traditional banking system, reports AFP.

Brazil has the second-highest death toll worldwide in the pandemic, after the United States, with more than 225,000 people killed.

The impact has been especially devastating in the favelas, the crowded jumbles of shacks that are the postcard of poverty in Brazil.

Not only have the poor suffered more from Covid-19 in health terms, they have also borne the brunt of the economic impact. Many favela residents work in the informal sector—jobs such as childcare and housekeeping that disappeared when stay-at-home measures took effect, sending the unemployment rate to a record 14.6 percent last September.