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Jonathan Ostry on How Pandemics Widen the Gap

May 18, 2020

Low-skilled workers are on the front lines and disproportionately hit by the pandemic's economic impact. (iStock by Getty Images/FG trade)

While rich and poor are equally vulnerable to the debilitating physical effects of the coronavirus, economist Jonathan Ostry says the economic and social impact of the pandemic is much less equal. Ostry is Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF and in this podcast, he says the poor and the working class bear the brunt of pandemics and that policies need to pay specific attention to prevent long-term damage to the livelihoods of society's most vulnerable. Ostry's latest study on Inequality and pandemics is published by the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) where he is a Research Fellow.

You can read Jonathan Ostry’s blog on how pandemics impact the poor at Blogs.imf.org

TRANSCRIPT

Jonathan Ostry is Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund.

Sub-Saharan Africa: COVID-19 A Threat to Development

May 12, 2020

Failure to contain the spread of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa will have catastrophic economic, health and humanitarian consequences. (iStock by Getty Images/ fivepointsix)

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis that threatens to reverse much of the development progress it's made in recent years. The latest Regional Economic Outlook shows the economy will contract by 1.6 percent this year; the worst reading on record. Papa N'Diaye is Head of Research in the IMF’s African Department that publishes the outlook. In this podcast, N'Diaye says by the end of 2020, the region will face income losses of about $200 billion relative to what they were expecting 6 months ago.

Papa N’Diaye, Heads the Regional Studies Division in the IMF’s African Department.

Jihad Azour: Middle East, Central Asia Face Perfect Storm Amid COVID-19

May 4, 2020

Latest outlook for Middle East and Central Asia shows one of the most challenging moments in economic history. (iStock by Getty Images/ CasarsaGuru)

No region has been spared the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. And with the high level of oil-dependency and informality of many countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, Jihad Azour says the economic impact of COVID-19 has been dramatic. Azour heads the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, which has just published the region's economic outlook that shows formidable challenges in the face of the pandemic.

You can read Azour's’s blog and others about the global impact of the pandemic at Blogs.imf.org

Jihad Azour is Director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department.

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Epidemiologists Help Steer Economy Through COVID-19

April 23, 2020

For the first time, the IMF is seeking guidance from epidemiologists for its macroeconomic projections. (iStock by Getty Images/ hocus-focus)

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on economies across the globe, economists are trying to figure out what the best path forward is for countries at different stages of the pandemic. Neil Ferguson and Azra Ghani are both professors of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College, London, and renowned for their mathematical modelling of the spread of infectious diseases. In this podcast, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says macroeconomists and epidemiologists need to work together to make the right decisions in this environment. Professors Ghani and Ferguson joined Georgieva in a virtual seminar during the IMF World-Bank Spring meetings.

Professor Neil Ferguson is Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics and head of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London.

Professor Azra Ghani is Chair of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health for Imperial College.

Fiscal Policy Provides Lifelines to People, Economies

April 14, 2020

IMF's Vitor Gaspar says fiscal policy is key to containing the pandemic, saving lives and limiting the economic damage. (IMF photo)

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around the world, emergency government spending on things like health care and employment, as well as tax policy, are preserving lives and livelihoods. In this podcast, Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, says governments should do whatever it takes, but to keep the receipts. Gaspar oversees the Fiscal Monitor, and the latest issue analyses the fiscal implications of the global pandemic. Countries have spent about $8 trillion so far and debt and deficits are on the rise. Gaspar says this is money well spent, but governments will need to be transparent and accountable for how they used taxpayer dollars to contain the pandemic and limit the economic damage. You can read Gaspar’s blog and others about the global impact of the pandemic at Blogs.imf.org

Vitor Gaspar is Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.

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