Digital Financial Inclusion in the Times of COVID-19

By Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Purva Khera, Sumiko Ogawa, and Ratna Sahay The COVID-19 pandemic could be a game changer for digital financial services. Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services, and online banking. Financial inclusion as a result of digital financial services can also boost economic […]

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Reopening Asia: How the Right Policies Can Help Economic Recovery

by Chang Yong Rhee For the first time in living memory, Asia’s growth is expected to contract by 1.6 percent—a downgrade to the April projection of zero growth. While Asia’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 was better than projected in the April World Economic Outlook—partly owing to early stabilization of the virus […]

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Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean: An Intensifying Pandemic

By Alejandro Werner Latin America and the Caribbean have become the new COVID-19 global epicenter. The human cost has been tragic, with over 100,000 lives lost. The economic toll has also been steep. The World Economic Outlook Update now estimates the region to shrink by 9.4 percent in 2020, four percentage points worse than the […]

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Financial Conditions Have Eased, but Insolvencies Loom Large

By Tobias Adrian and Fabio Natalucci Amid the human tragedy and economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent surge in risk appetite in financial markets has caught analysts’ attention. After sharp declines in February and March, equity markets have rallied back, in some cases to close to their January levels, while credit spreads have narrowed significantly, […]

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The Great Lockdown through a Global Lens

By Gita Gopinath The Great Lockdown is expected to play out in three phases, first as countries enter the lockdown, then as they exit, and finally as they escape the lockdown when there is a medical solution to the pandemic. Many countries are now in the second phase, as they reopen, with early signs of […]

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Combating COVID-19: How Should Banking Supervisors Respond?

By Tobias Adrian  and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu The massive macro-financial shock caused by the pandemic continues to ravage the global economy and has put both banks and borrowers under severe strain. Supervisors find themselves confronted with unprecedented challenges which call for decisive action to ensure that banking systems support the real economy while preserving financial stability. […]

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The Global Economic Reset—Promoting a More Inclusive Recovery

By Kristalina Georgieva  The COVID-19 crisis is inflicting the most pain on those who are already most vulnerable. This calamity could lead to a significant rise in income inequality. And it could jeopardize development gains, from educational attainment to poverty reduction. New estimates suggest that up to 100 million people worldwide could be pushed into […]

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Strengthening Economic Institutions for a Resilient Recovery

By Antoinette Sayeh Exceptional times call for exceptional action. In response to COVID-19, the IMF has moved with unprecedented speed and magnitude of financial assistance to help countries protect lives and livelihoods. Economic stabilization and a sustainable recovery, however, will require more than financial assistance. For recovery to be sustainable, policymakers will need to strengthen […]

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Safeguarding Africa’s Food Security in the Age of COVID-19

By Pritha Mitra and Seung Mo Choi Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is under threat. The ability of many Africans to access sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs has been disrupted by successive natural disasters and epidemics. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, locust outbreaks in eastern Africa, and droughts in southern and […]

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Courage under Fire: Policy Responses in Emerging Market and Developing Economies to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Martin Mühleisen, Vladimir Klyuev, Sarah Sanya The coronavirus crisis is a crisis like no other, and for emerging market and developing economies (EMDE), it has triggered a policy response like no other, both in scope and magnitude. Despite their diversity, and in some cases, strained resources, this large group of countries—consisting of emerging markets and […]

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