The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis like no other in modern times, and there is a growing apprehension about handling potentially contaminated cash. This paper is the first empirical attempt in the literature to investigate whether the risk of infectious diseases affects demand for physical cash. Since the intensity of cash use may influence the spread of infectious diseases, this paper utilizes two-stage least squares (2SLS) methodology with instrumental variable (IV) to address omitted variable bias and account for potential endogeneity. The analysis indicates that the spread of infectious diseases lowers demand for physical cash, after controlling for macroeconomic, financial, and technological factors. While the transactional constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic could become a catalyst for the use of digital technologies around the world, electronic payment methods may not be universally available in every country owing to financial and technological bottlenecks.
This paper develops a gravity model framework to estimate the impact of infectious diseases on bilateral tourism flows among 38,184 pairs of countries over the period 1995–2017. The results confirm that international tourism is adversely affected by disease risk, and the magnitude of this negative effect is statistically and economically significant. In the case of SARS, for example, a 10 percent rise in confirmed cases leads to a reduction of as much as 9 percent in tourist arrivals. Furthermore, while infectious diseases appear to have a smaller and statistically insignificant negative effect on tourism flows to advanced economies, the magnitude and statistical significance of the impact of infectious diseases are much greater in developing countries, where such diseases tend to be more prevalent and health infrastructure lags behind.
This Selected Issues paper aims to measure the impact of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic on economic growth in Sierra Leone. A novel empirical approach is used, which is based on a Difference in Differences setup, called the Synthetic Control Method. The model suggests that EVD had a severe impact on growth. In 2014, the first year EVD hit the country, the impact on real growth excluding iron ore is estimated to be more than 5 percentage points. It is suggested that in outer years, the severity of the impact will lessen, and growth will converge to its normal path by 2018.
This paper discusses Liberia’s Fourth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria (PC), Modification of PC, and Rephasing and Extension of the Arrangement. The end-June 2014 quantitative PC on government revenues and central bank net foreign exchange position, and one indicative target on net domestic assets were not met. Only three out of seven structural benchmarks for the fourth review were met. Based on the authorities’ corrective actions, the IMF staff supports completion of the delayed fourth ECF review, and the authorities’ request for an extension and re-phasing of the program to end-December 2016.
This paper discusses Liberia’s Request for an Extension of the Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). From mid-2014 to mid-2015, Liberia faced a serious Ebola virus disease crisis, which triggered the declaration of a state of emergency. End-June 2014 performance criteria (PCs) and indicative targets were met, except the revenue floor and the floor net foreign exchange position of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), and the ceiling on net domestic assets. The authorities are expected to request waivers for the missed PCs in light of corrective actions undertaken to improve revenue collection and strengthen the net foreign exchange position of the CBL. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request to extend the ECF arrangement.
This paper discusses Guinea’s Request for Debt Relief Under the Catastrophe Containment (CC) Window of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief (CCR) Trust. Since early 2014, Guinea has been experiencing an ongoing Ebola epidemic that has spread to several countries in the region. The immediate economic effect of the Ebola epidemic has been a pronounced slowdown in 2014. Performance under the Extended Credit Facility arrangement has been satisfactory, the difficult macroeconomic environment notwithstanding. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for assistance under the CC window of the CCR Trust given the nature of the public health disaster, and the ensuing financing needs to contain the disease and rehabilitate Guinea’s public health system.
This paper discusses Sierra Leone’s Second Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Financing Assurances Review. Economic output is set to contract by some 13 percent in 2015, comprising a decline in non-iron-ore activity of some 2 percent, and a 47 percent slump in iron-ore output as the dominant mining operator is not expected to resume activity until mid-year at the earliest. Policy discussions focused on generating fiscal space to tackle the Ebola emergency and contend with the effects of the slump in iron-ore production and prices. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for significant additional financing from the IMF.
This paper discusses Liberia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Debt Relief Under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief (CCR) Trust. Economic activity has declined significantly, and fiscal and external financing needs are more pronounced than envisaged at the time of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) augmentation. The authorities remain committed to the broad objectives of the ECF program. The IMF staff recommends approval of the authorities’ requests for a disbursement under the RCF and debt relief under the CCR Trust given the extensive economic damage caused by the Ebola outbreak and based on the authorities’ updated policy intentions and commitments.
This paper discusses Guinea’s Fifth Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), Financing Assurances Review, and Requests for an Augmentation of Access and Extension of Current Arrangement. Performance under the ECF program has been satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria have been met. Macroeconomic policies in 2015 will remain supportive to help deal with the Ebola outbreak. The IMF staff supports the completion of the fifth review under the ECF arrangement and financing assurances review and requests for an extension of the current arrangement to end-2015, an augmentation in access, and disbursement of 25 percent of quota as budget support under the 5th review.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Guinea is suffering from an outbreak of Ebola, which has become a humanitarian crisis with a significant economic impact. Preliminary estimates suggest a negative impact on 2014 growth, which will be markedly lower. Government revenue is showing a substantial shortfall and the response to the Ebola outbreak entails additional critical spending needs. The exchange rate has started to depreciate. The authorities intend to adopt a tighter monetary policy to address the transitory balance of payments shock. Performance under the ECF-supported program has remained satisfactory. Preliminary data indicate that all performance criteria (PCs) under the program for end-June 2014 were met. There has also been further progress with structural reform. The authorities have requested additional IMF financial assistance to meet urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs not anticipated at the time of the recent program review. Such assistance cannot be provided in the form of an augmentation of access under the ECF arrangement at this time since a review associated with the most recent availability date has not yet been completed because of delays in program implementation associated with the 2013 parliamentary elections. The authorities have requested a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) because the urgent balance of payments need is characterized by a financing gap that, if not addressed, would result in an immediate and severe economic disruption. Moreover, Guinea’s balance of payments difficulties are caused primarily by a sudden exogenous shock and not by a withdrawal of financial support by donors, and its balance of payments need is expected to be resolved within one year with no major policy adjustments being necessary. As such polices remain guided by the objectives of the ECF-supported program. Staff supports the authorities’ request for a disbursement under the RCF of 25 percent of quota (SDR 26.775 million). It also supports the authorities’ request for a modification of the end-September indicative targets and end-December 2014 PCs under the ECF arrangement, including program adjustors.