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Nordine Abidi, Mehdi El Herradi, and Sahra Sakha
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented shock to firms with adverse consequences for existing productive capacities. At the same time, digitalization has increasingly been touted as a key pathway for mitigating economic losses from the pandemic, and we expect firms facing digital constraints to be less resilient to supply shocks. This paper uses firm-level data to investigate whether digitally-enabled firms have been able to mitigate economic losses arising from the pandemic better than digitally-constrained firms in the Middle East and Central Asia region using a difference-in-differences approach. Controlling for demand conditions, we find that digitally-enabled firms faced a lower decline in sales by about 4 percentage points during the pandemic compared to digitally-constrained firms, suggesting that digitalization acted as a hedge during the pandemic. Against this backdrop, our results suggest that policymakers need to close the digital gap and accelerate firms’ digital transformation. This will be essential for economies to bounce back from the pandemic, and build the foundations for future resilience.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The scenario planning exercises help to draw out the surveillance priorities and stress- test the robustness of those priorities to uncertainties in the decade ahead. To inform the two priorities on confronting risks and uncertainties and mitigating spillovers, the scenarios illustrate how different shocks and alternative policy approaches carry their own risks and can have both positive and negative spillovers. The scenarios also illustrate some of the complex economic and non-economic factors that feed into the priority on economic sustainability and demonstrate how resource constraints and changing economic structures underpin the need for a unified policy approach.
International Monetary Fund
This volume discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I) and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) that addressed the critical poverty issues in Ghana. GPRS I is a comprehensive policy document prepared as a precondition for Ghana under the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative. The main component—human development—targets improvement for Ghana’s population to access basic needs and essential services. A general assessment shows that Ghana has a positive and significantly stabilized macroeconomic environment.
International Monetary Fund
This strategic paper discusses Ethiopia’s growth and transformation plan (GTP) for the periods 2010/2011 and 2014/2015. The Ethiopian government’s main development agenda has been poverty eradication. The government has designed, and is implementing, strategies, policies, and plans to guide and manage the overall development of the country accordingly. The GTP envisages that, besides maintaining a fast-growing economy, better results will be realized in all sectors. Implementation of the GTP requires mobilization of financial and human resources, especially for infrastructure development.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The IMF Executive Board announced on August 3 that it had completed the ninth review of Turkey’s economic program supported by the three-year Stand-By Arrangement. The Board’s decision will enable Turkey to draw SDR 1.2 billion (about $1.5 billion) immediately from the IMF. The text of News Brief No. 01/73, as well as a statement issued on July 28 by IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer (see page 262) is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).