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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.