This report overviews countries fiscal actions in response to COVID-19 and discusses how governments policies should adapt to get ahead of the pandemic and set the stage for a greener, fairer, and more durable recovery. Global vaccination should be scaled up as it can save lives and will eventually pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity. Until the pandemic is brought under control globally, fiscal policies must remain flexible and supportive, while keeping debt at a manageable level over the long term. Governments also need to adopt comprehensive policies, embedded in medium-term frameworks, to tackle inequalities—especially in access to basic public services—that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and may cause income gaps to persist. Investing in education, healthcare and early childhood development and strengthening social safety nets financed through improved tax capacity and higher progressivity, can strengthen lifetime opportunities, improve trust, and contribute to more social cohesion.
Mr. Edward F Buffie, Mr. Christopher S Adam, Luis-Felipe Zanna, and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
We analyze the medium-term macroeconomic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lock-down measures on low-income countries. We focus on the impact over the medium-run of the degradation of health and human capital caused by the pandemic and its aftermath, exploring the trade-offs between rebuilding human capital and the recovery of livelihoods and macroeconomic sustainability. A dynamic general equilibrium model is calibrated to reflect the structural characteristics of vulnerable low-income countries and to replicate key dimensions of the Covid-19 shock. We show that absent significant and sustained external financing, the persistence of loss-of-learning effects on labor productivity is likely to make the post-Covid recovery more attenuated and more expensive than many contemporary analyses suggest.