Mr. Ales Bulir, Daniel Baksa, Mr. Juan S Corrales, Andres Gonzalez, Diego Rodriguez, and Dyna Heng
This technical note and manual (TNM) addresses the following issues: • Evaluating the full implications from the policies adopted to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy requires a well-developed macroeconomic framework. This note illustrates how such frameworks were used to analyze Colombia and Cambodia's shock impact at the beginning of the pandemic. • The use of macroeconomic frameworks is not to infer general policy conclusions from abstract models or empirical analysis but to help policymakers think through and articulate coherent forecasts, scenarios, and policy responses. • The two country cases illustrate how to construct a baseline scenario consistent with a COVID-19 shock within structural macroeconomic models. The scenario is built gradually to incorporate the available information, the pandemic's full effects, and the policy responses. • The results demonstrate the value of combining close attention to the data, near-term forecasting, and model-based analyses to support coherent policies.
Mr. Giovanni Melina, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, Vivian Malta, Xin Tang, Daniel Gurara, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Despite strong economic growth since 2000, many low-income countries (LICs) still face numerous macroeconomic challenges, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the deceleration in real GDP growth during the 2008 global financial crisis, LICs on average saw 4.5 percent of real GDP growth during 2000 to 2014, making progress in economic convergence toward higher-income countries. However, the commodity price collapse in 2014–15 hit many commodity-exporting LICs and highlighted their vulnerabilities due to the limited extent of economic diversification. Furthermore, LICs are currently facing a crisis like no other—COVID-19, which requires careful policymaking to save lives and livelihoods in LICs, informed by policy debate and thoughtful research tailored to the COVID-19 situation. There are also other challenges beyond COVID-19, such as climate change, high levels of public debt burdens, and persistent structural issues.
This paper examines the institutional arrangements of the macro-fiscal function in 16 African countries. Most ministries of finance (MoFs) have established a macro-fiscal department or unit, but their functions, size, structure and outputs vary considerably. Based on a survey, we present data on staff size, functional scope and the forecasting performance of macro-fiscal departments and identify common challenges in the countries reviewed. Some MoFs perform many macro-fiscal functions, but actions of various kinds are needed to strengthen their macro-fiscal departments. This paper provides some guidance for policy-makers in the region for enhancing the quality and scope of macro-fiscal outputs.