International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper focuses on Maldives’ Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The pandemic is inflicting significant damage, especially on tourism activity, and is expected to result in substantial weakening of the Maldives’ gross domestic product growth, balance of payments and the fiscal position. The government of the Maldives acted quickly to put in place containment measures and is seeking support from the international community for its crisis response plan. The authorities have responded quickly to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, including specific travel restrictions and subsequently more comprehensive travel measures. They also put together a set of measures to alleviate its social and economic fallout. The temporary fiscal accommodation is appropriate. The authorities will reprioritize and cut capital expenditures, redirecting funds as needed to combat the pandemic and provide temporary and well-targeted support to the most vulnerable households and businesses, while maintaining high standards of transparency and governance. The authorities remain committed to fiscal and debt sustainability over the medium term. They intend to achieve a balanced fiscal adjustment based on the reduction of capital spending to historical averages, recurrent expenditure discipline, and revenue mobilization.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 percent in the 1970s to 7 percent over the last decade. Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades. Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks to India’s increasing performance, contributes to over 15 percent of global growth.
Looking ahead, the authors find that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy, in both relative and absolute terms. India has overtaken China as the fastest growing large economy and South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance.
Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labor market by 2030. This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy. Amid a changing global economic landscape, the authors argue that South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.