While there are signs of a recovery in advanced economies, sub-Saharan Africa is still in the throes of an unprecedented health and economic crisis. The second wave of COVID-19 infections was worse than the first and countries are bracing for more, while access to vaccines is scant at best. Most African countries will be struggling to vaccinate essential frontline workers this year, let alone the broader population. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa lays out the challenges that the region is facing and comes up with some policy recommendations to deal with critical issues like debt management and the financing of vaccine procurement. Papa N’Diaye leads the team that produces the biannual report. In this podcast, he says sub-Saharan Africa will be the world’s slowest growing region in 2021.
Read the report at IMF.org
S'il existe des signes de reprise dans les économies avancées, l'Afrique subsaharienne est toujours en proie à une crise sanitaire et économique sans précédent. La deuxième vague d'infections au COVID-19 était pire que la première et les pays se préparent à plus, alors que l'accès aux vaccins est au mieux limité. La plupart des pays africains auront du mal à vacciner les travailleurs de première ligne essentiels cette année, sans parler de la population en général. Les dernières Perspectives économiques régionales de l'Afrique subsaharienne présentent les défis auxquels la région est confrontée et formule des recommandations politiques pour faire face à des problèmes critiques tels que la gestion de la dette et le financement de l'achat de vaccins. Papa N’Diaye dirige l’équipe qui produit le rapport semestriel. Dans ce podcast, il dit que l’Afrique subsaharienne sera la région du monde qui affiche la plus faible croissance en 2021.
Le papier intégral peut être consulté sur imf.org.
Debt levels in many countries were high when the pandemic hit. But today, global public debt is reaching 100 percent of GDP. In this podcast, we hear a panel discussion about the very real danger for some countries of falling into a debt trap. The seminar was held during the 2021 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings and featured IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, Mohamed El-Erian, President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations. The Panel was moderated by Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times.
Go to IMF.org to watch the webcast.
Global prospects are looking better one year into the pandemic, albeit highly uncertain. The latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) places growth at 6% for 2021, compared to 2020's unprecedented contraction of -3.3%. But recovery is by and large vaccine-dependent and the lack of access to vaccines is making recovery hard to imagine for some countries, while others are well on their way. Malhar Nabar is Division Chief in the IMF Research Department and heads the WEO. In this podcast, he says these divergent recoveries are a big concern. Transcript
Read the WEO and the blog at IMF.org
While emerging markets suffered huge portfolio outflows at the beginning of the pandemic, the latest Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) shows capital flows have returned and the outlook continues to improve, partly because of low interest rates in countries such as the United States. The new report takes a close look at the possibility of rising interest rates and what that would mean for emerging market economies trying to recover from the pandemic. Fabio Natalucci is Deputy Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department and heads the GFSR. In this podcast, he says a lagging recovery in emerging markets is a risk to global financial stability. Transcript
Read the report: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/GFSR
Read the blog: https://blogs.imf.org/
More than a year into the COVID-19 crisis, signs of a recovery for some countries are slowly beginning to emerge. But in her customary curtain-raiser speech ahead of next week's virtual IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said high uncertainty is one of the greatest dangers facing the global economy.
Go to IMF.org to follow the Spring Meetings and find all the IMF flagship reports, including the World Economic Outlook, the Global Financial Stability Report, and the Fiscal Monitor.
2020 was a record-breaking year for housing markets in many countries- including the US, but for the commercial real estate sector, it was a completely different story. Lockdown and containment measures severely affected economic activity, pushing down commercial property transactions and prices in cities around the world. A new analytical chapter in the IMF Global Financial Stability Report looks at how continued downward pressure on prices could threaten financial stability and hamper the recovery. In this podcast, lead author Andrea Deghi and team lead Mahvash Qureshi say vacancy rates of office space in the US almost doubled in 2020 due to people having to work from home, a trend likely to continue well beyond the pandemic.
Read the analytical chapter: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/GFSR/Issues/2021/04/06/global-financial-stability-report-april-2021
Read the blog: https://blogs.imf.org/
Public policy plays an important role in the recovery from the pandemic, but private sector innovation and agility can make a big difference on many counts. In this episode, Alphabet and Google CFO Ruth Porat talks with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and David Miliband, Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee, on Google's Zeitgeist podcast, an exclusive series that brings together extraordinary leaders to focus on critical issues for the world. Transcript
Earlier this month, AFRODAD's Jason Braganza was invited to participate in the IMF and European Commission's annual African Fiscal Forum, where Finance Ministers, heads of international agencies, and development partners discussed ways to support African economies through the pandemic. In this podcast, Braganza says countries need more fiscal space to boost social protection systems, provide stimulus for businesses, and create resources for vaccination procurement and rollout programs.
Corporate market power has been on the rise in recent decades, but a new IMF study shows the pandemic has strengthened price markups for dominant firms and increased the concentration of revenues among the biggest players in sectors such as technology and pharma. The Brookings Institution and Bruegel hosted a conversation with Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, to talk about the research and discuss policy responses. In this podcast, lead author Romain Duval says a further rise in corporate market power would stifle innovation, hold back wage growth, and be a drag on the economic recovery. Romain Duval is Assistant Director in the IMF Research Department.
Read the Blog at https://blogs.imf.org/
Watch the webcast at https://www.brookings.edu
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen celebrate International Women's day with a conversation about the advancement of women in the field of economics. Transcript
Watch the webcast HERE
There are talented people everywhere, with ideas that could make the world a better place to live in. But what does it take for a promising young innovator to reach their full potential? In this podcast, IMF economist Ruchir Agarwal says global scientific output could be more than 40 percent higher if talented youth around the world had equal opportunities to nurture their abilities. Look for Agarwal and coauthors Ina Ganguli and Patrick Gaule's article Embracing the Gift of Global Talent in the March 2021 issue of Finance and Development Magazine. Transcript
Economists have long studied economic migration between rich and poor countries, but India's large population and significant divergence in per capita incomes between its rich and poor states make it an interesting case study on the implications of economic migration within a fast-growing emerging economy. In this podcast, economists Prakash Loungani and Sriram Balasubramanian discuss how consumption levels in India's rural and urban areas may be driving the migration trends within its borders. Transcript
Read the working paper HERE
The pandemic has proven in no uncertain terms that people and institutions need to adapt to change. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva was invited by the Albright Institute of Global Affairs at Wellesley College to discuss how the Fund is adapting to the current needs of the global economy and the extent to which the institution has had to rethink its strategies since it was created in 1944 to support economies of the post-war world. The conversation was moderated by Prof. Joseph Joyce, Professor of Economics, Wellesley College. Transcript
Watch the Wellesley College webcast HERE
You may also be interested in Kristalina Georgieva's talk with Badr Jafar, Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy. Watch HERE
Global disparities between women and men have narrowed over the twentieth century but despite the strong evidence of the benefits of closing the gender gap, progress has been slow in many parts of the world. Dr Alice Evans has studied women movements across the globe and written extensively on the topic. She was invited by the IMF Africa Department to talk about how feminist activism helps women overcome barriers to greater economic autonomy and is key to achieving gender equality. In this podcast, Evans says feminist activism thrives in societies with female mobility, economic development, and labor-intensive growth.
Find her articles and podcast at DrAliceEvans.com.
With the great strides in financial technology in recent years, the lower data processing costs and fees associated with investing in the stock market should have led to broader increases of household wealth. But in this podcast, economist Roxana Mihet says while fintech has reduced barriers to access and held out the promise of gains for all, it may have worsened capital income inequality. Mihet is Assistant Professor of Finance at HEC Lausanne, and her recent study suggests the most likely beneficiaries of financial innovation are those who have access to the valuable data that inform good investments. Mihet was recipient of the ECB's Young Economists Award in 2020 for her work on Financial Innovation and the Inequality Gap. She was invited by the IMF's Strategy, Policy and Review Department to present her research. Transcript
Many things can happen within the global financial system to disrupt financial stability, and the pandemic is testing most of them. Fabio Natalucci heads the IMF's Global Financial Stability Report, which analyses trends in the world economy and looks for potential vulnerabilities. The latest update identifies the uneven distribution of vaccines across the globe as one of those vulnerabilities, especially for frontier market economies. In this podcast, Natalucci says while the vaccine rollout has boosted hopes of a recovery this year, there are still difficult times ahead. Fabio Natalucci is Deputy Director in the Monetary and Capital Markets Department. Transcript
Artificial intelligence and robots are revolutionizing production processes across the globe, but what countries stand to gain most from these new technologies? Economists Andy Berg and Chris Papageorgiou are coauthors of a new study that suggests the so-called AI revolution may widen the gap between rich and poor countries. Transcript
Since the Industrial Revolution began more than 250 years ago- the world has produced enough wealth for every one of its 8 billion people to live comfortably. Yet, over 40 percent live in poverty, with most of the wealth being held by an increasingly narrow slice of the population. Binyamin Appelbaum says rising inequality is weighing on growth and straining the fabric of liberal democracy. And he squarely places the blame on distribution. In this podcast, Appelbaum says while there has been a surge of interest among economists to study the inequities of distribution, some still question the importance of it. Transcript
Tourism, hospitality, and other contact-intensive sectors with higher shares of female workers came to a dead stop shortly after Covid-19 infections started to spread. But as the labor market readjusts to the new work environment, a new study using real-time data on job listings reveals women–across all sectors, continue to drop out of the workforce at an alarming rate. While official labor market data can paint a confusing picture of the job market under the current conditions, economist Wenjie Chen says online job posting analysis from 22 countries shows the extent of the pandemic's damage, especially to women. Women have fared worse than men even in those jobs that are more conducive to working from home. Chen's article Disparities in Real Time is published in the December 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
The global pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs and is widening the gap between white-collar workers who can work from home and those who don’t have the skills or resources to participate in a digitally-driven economy. And with robots and automation on the rise, COVID-19 appears to have ushered in a new normal for the global workplace. But in this podcast, JustJobs Network President Sabina Dewan, and ILO economist Ekkehard Ernst, argue this "new normal" isn't really new at all, and that shifting demographics and technology were upending labor markets long before the Covid-induced lockdowns. Dewan and Ernst coauthored Rethinking the World of Work, published in the December 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Covid-19 has shown the important role that data and statistics play in assessing the disruptions caused by the pandemic–economic and otherwise–and implementing measures to mitigate its impact. The IMF's Statistics Department brings together leading thinkers in the world of data in its annual Statistical Forum. This year, Ian Goldin was invited to give a keynote speech on Economics, Institutions, and Multilateralism in the context of Covid-19, and to discuss his book The Butterfly Defect with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Goldin is the Oxford University Professor of Globalization and Development, and Director of the Oxford Martin Program on Technological and Economic Change. In this podcast, Goldin says bouncing back should not imply resorting to pre-pandemic approaches but to set out on a new and more sustainable path.
Despite long-standing warnings from scientists about the risks of a pandemic, the world was simply unprepared for this one. Ulrich Volz says the same is true for climate change. Volz is the director of the Center for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and in this podcast, he says many countries will find themselves in a permanent crisis mode unless concerted efforts are made to strengthen investment to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Volz's article Investing in a Green Recovery is published in the June 2020 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
بلدان الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا استجابت لجائحة كوفيد-19 باتخاذ إجراءات سريعة وصارمة للتخفيف من انتشار الجائحة وحدة تأثيرها ولكنها لا تزال تواجه بيئة قاسية يشوبها عدم اليقين. فتشير آخر التوقعات لآفاق الاقتصاد في المنطقة إلى أن البلدان المصدرة للنفط تضررت على وجه الخصوص بدرجة بالغة من "صدمة مزدوجة" تمثلت في الأثر الاقتصادي لحالات الإغلاق العام وما ترتب عليها من هبوط حاد في الطلب على النفط وفي أسعاره. جهاز أزعور يلقي الضوء على توقعات صندوق النقد الدولي للآفاق الاقتصادية في المنطقة. ويقول أزعور في هذه الحلقة من البث الصوتي إن احتواء الأزمة الصحية لا يزال هو الأولوية، إلا أن الحكومات يجب أن تبدأ كذلك في إرساء ركائز التعافي الاقتصادي الذي سيسمح للبلدان بالخروج من الأزمة أقوى من ذي قبل.
جهاد أزعور، مدير إدارة الشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى
The Middle East and North Africa responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact but continue to face an uncertain and difficult environment. The latest outlook for the region shows oil exporters, in particular, were hard hit by a “double-whammy” of the economic impact of lockdowns and a sharp decline in oil demand and prices. Jihad Azour heads the IMF's outlook for the region. In this podcast, he says while containing the health crisis is still the priority, governments must also start laying the groundwork for an economic recovery that will allow countries to emerge stronger.
Jihad Azour is Director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department.