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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, The Gambia had shown strong macroeconomic performance in the few years following the remarkable political transition in 2016-17. Economic growth accelerated, debt vulnerabilities decreased, external stability strengthened, structural and legislative reforms advanced, and key social indicators improved. However, the COVID-19 pandemic halted some of the hard-won progress, stagnating economic activity and re-igniting extreme poverty. The Gambia experienced a third wave of the pandemic in mid-2021, which has receded recently. The COVID-19 vaccination rate currently stands at about 12 percent of the adult population. Presidential and parliamentary elections are planned for December 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures have put severe strains on the economy. The economic policy response has been strong and generally appropriate, helping counter the negative effects of the pandemic. Nevertheless, as the international borders remain shut, the economic contraction is likely to deepen in FY2021. A slow recovery is expected for FY2022 driven by a gradual border reopening. The FSM is facing significant medium-term uncertainty, owing to the possible expiration of grants and other assistance provided under the Compact Agreement with the United States. The FSM is also highly vulnerable to climate change-induced natural disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a deep recession and worsened fiscal and external positions from already weak levels. The opposition People’s United Party won the November 2020 elections by a wide margin, which gives the new government a unique opportunity to jump start much needed reforms to reduce large imbalances and anchor strong and inclusive growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
In the past two decades, Paraguay has seen strong growth and a sharp reduction in poverty. Strong GDP growth was the result of sound macro policies (with low inflation and low fiscal deficits and debt) and an agricultural commodity price boom which spilled over to the non-tradable sector. Growth was not just high but also volatile, as bad weather shocks led to poor harvests, which spill over to the broader economy. In early 2020, Paraguay was rebounding strongly from another weather shock, and full-year growth was forecast at over 4 percent. In 2019, bad weather had reduced the harvest, and GDP growth had come to a near standstill. A recovery started in the second half of 2019 and gathered strength in early 2020—in February economic activity was 7 percent higher than a year earlier. The Covid-19 epidemic halted the recovery. An early lockdown—which kept the death toll among the lowest in the region—led to a sharp contraction in economic activity, with April activity levels at 20 percent below those in February. Women, informal sector workers, and workers in the service sector were particularly hard hit; while children were severely affected by the closing of the schools until the end of 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods, and economic conditions. Growth is expected to slow considerably in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 as tourism is at a standstill and domestic activity is expected to significantly slow. The external accounts are expected to deteriorate from portfolio outflows and the shock to tourism and remittances, resulting in an urgent balance of payments need.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
A further deterioration of the global environment and a deepening of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened the macroeconomic outlook significantly, with growth now projected to be negative in 2020. As a result, urgent balance of payments needs arising from the pandemic are now estimated at 4.2 percent of GDP (compared to 1.8 percent), and the authorities have requested an additional disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of 50 percent of quota (SDR 122.2 million) under the “exogenous shock” window of the RCF. This follows Board approval on April 3, 2020 of the authorities’ request for 50 percent of quota, which took place before the annual access of the RCF was doubled to 100 percent of quota on April 6, 2020. This additional request, if approved, will bring total disbursements under the RCF to 100 percent of quota in 2020. The authorities have also requested temporary debt servicing relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, supported by the G-20 and Paris Club.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability achieved during the three-year arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) now faces a significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth is expected to slow in both FY2019/20 and FY2020/21 as tourism has been halted and domestic activity curtailed. The external accounts have come under pressure due to capital outflows and the shock to tourism and remittances. The authorities responded with a broad package to scale up the health system’s capacity and policies to support the people and the economy.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe impact on Lesotho’s economy. Supply chains for major industries have been disrupted and a national shutdown to contain the virus curtailed economic activity with adverse social impacts. The economy is expected to be further hit by declining external demand for textiles and diamonds, shrinking remittances, and delays to major construction projects. The authorities are taking measures to contain the virus and are implementing plans to mitigate its health and economic consequences. The economic shock, as well as the additional required spending, have generated urgent balance-of-payments (BOP) needs. Lesotho does not have an arrangement with the Fund.