Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar

Asia-Pacific Economic Outlook: How to Navigate Waves of New Variants

The IMF recently downgraded 2021 growth in Asia and the Pacific to 6.5% due to new peaks in the pandemic cycle driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, and upgraded projected growth in 2022 to 5.7% based on accelerating vaccination rates. The IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP) hosted a webinar presenting the latest economic outlook for the Asia-Pacific region. The webinar also discussed two analytical chapters in the outlook report: One on determinants of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the effects of vaccinations on health and economic outcomes, and the other on how trade liberalization can boost productivity and limit scarring from the crisis. More than 220 people from 23 countries in Asia and beyond participated in the virtual seminar.


November 10, 2021 (Japan time)
11:00-11:05 am    Introduction 
11:05-11:25 am  Presentation on Navigating Waves of New Variants: Pandemic Resurgence Slows the Recovery
Chikahisa Sumi, Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, IMF
11:25-11:40 am 
Presentation on Leveraging Opportunities from COVID-19 Vaccines: Early Lessons from Asia (Ch. 3)
Nour Tawk, Economist, Asia and Pacific Department, IMF
11:40-11:55 am   Presentation on Reigniting Asia’s Growth Engine through Trade Liberalization (Ch. 4)
Siddharth Kothari, Economist, Asia and Pacific Department, IMF
11:55-12:25 pm Q&A session
12:25-12:30 pm Closing & post-event survey 


  • Chikahisa Sumi, Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, IMFChikahisa Sumi is the Director of the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP). He has worked on Asia and the Pacific countries for seven years in the IMF, including leading missions to the Philippines, Singapore, New Zealand and Fiji. He also headed the Financial Sector Surveillance Group of the Asia and Pacific Department (APD), and led the Future of Asia’s Finance project, including the publication of “The Future of Asian Finance” book in 2015. Before returning to the IMF, Mr. Sumi held key positions in the Japanese Government, including Deputy Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, and Deputy Commissioner of the Financial Services Agency. Chikahisa holds a LL.B. from the University of Tokyo (1982) and an MBA from Harvard University (1986).
  • Ms. Nour TawkNour Tawk is an economist in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, where she works on regional developments in the Regional Studies Division. She is also a desk economist for Malaysia. Previously, she was an economist in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department. Her research interests include emerging market economies’ policy responses to capital flows, spillovers from unconventional monetary policies, and systemic variations in bilateral exchange rates. She obtained her MA and PhD in Economics from Keio University in Tokyo. 
  • Siddharth Kothari Siddharth Kothari is an economist in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, where he is the desk economist for Australia and also covers broader regional developments as part of the Regional Studies Division. Previously, he was an economist in the Research Department and the African Department of the IMF. His research interests include macroeconomics, development, labor markets, and inequality. He obtained his PhD in Economics from Stanford University.