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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, June 2018
International Monetary Fund
Finance & Development, June 2020
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance & Development, September 2020
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Finance & Development, December 2014
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened the macroeconomic outlook. The authorities have launched a health care contingency plan and an initial package of economic measures, together totaling $31 million (0.4 percent of GDP), and are preparing a second, larger package of economic measures of about $400 million (5.2 percent of GDP). To help address an urgent balance of payments need arising from the pandemic, estimated at about $500 million, the authorities request an additional purchase under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) of 33.3 percent of quota (SDR 59.2 million) and a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of 16.7 percent of quota (SDR 29.6 million) under the “exogenous shock” window of the RCF. This follows Board approval on March 26, 2020 of the authorities’ earlier request for the same amounts, before the doubling of the annual access on emergency financing under the “exogenous shock” window of the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) to 100 percent of quota was approved on April 6, 2020. This additional request will bring the total purchases under the RFI and the disbursements under the RCF to 100 percent of quota in 2020.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries of the Middle East and Central Asia region have been hit by two large and reinforcing shocks, resulting in significantly weaker growth projections in 2020. In addition to the devastating toll on human health, the COVID-19 pandemic and the plunge in oil prices are causing economic turmoil in the region, with fragile and conflict affected states particularlyhard-hit given already large humanitarian and refugee challenges and weak health infrastructures. The immediate priority for policies is to save lives with needed health spending, regardless of fiscal space, while preserving engines of growth with targeted support to households and hard-hit sectors. In this context, the IMF has been providing emergency assistance to help countries in the region during these challenging times. Further ahead, economic recoveries should be supported with broad fiscal and monetary measures where policy space is available, and by seeking external assistance where space is limited.

Ruchir Agarwal and Ms. Gita Gopinath
Urgent steps are needed to arrest the rising human toll and economic strain from the COVID-19 pandemic that are exacerbating already-diverging recoveries. Pandemic policy is also economic policy as there is no durable end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis. Building on existing initiatives, this paper proposes pragmatic actions at the national and multilateral level to expeditiously defeat the pandemic. The proposal targets: (1) vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022, (2) tracking and insuring against downside risks, and (3) ensuring widespread testing and tracing, maintaining adequate stocks of therapeutics, and enforcing public health measures in places where vaccine coverage is low. The benefits of such measures at about $9 trillion far outweigh the costs which are estimated to be around $50 billion—of which $35 billion should be paid by grants from donors and the residual by national governments potentially with the support of concessional financing from bilateral and multilateral agencies. The grant funding gap identified by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator amounts to about $22 billion, which the G20 recognizes as important to address. This leaves an estimated $13 billion in additional grant contributions needed to finance our proposal. Importantly, the strategy requires global cooperation to secure upfront financing, upfront vaccine donations, and at-risk investment to insure against downside risks for the world.