While connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions, digitalization is advancing fast and being embraced by those who do have access. Some countries are now global leaders in mobile money transactions—with a share of GDP average close to 25 percent, compared to just 5 percent in the rest of the world. In a region where infrastructure is often lacking, digital technologies offer ways to break down or leap over barriers. IMF economists Preya Sharma and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael are co-authors of the latest analytical chapter for the Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, which studies the impact of digitalization. In this podcast, Sharma and Woldemichael say expanding internet access in sub-Saharan Africa by an extra 10 percent of the population could increase real per capita GDP growth by 1 to 4 percentage points.
L'Afrique subsaharienne est en première ligne du changement climatique, avec des conditions météorologiques extrêmes qui font des ravages sur les infrastructures et la production agricole. Mais la crise sanitaire introduit un autre niveau de risque pour la chaîne alimentaire. Dans ce podcast, les économistes du FMI Genet Zinabou et Eric Pondi Endengle disent que l'augmentation de la fréquence et de l'intensité des catastrophes naturelles pèse sur la région, qui dépend fortement de l'agriculture pluviale. Les dernières Perspectives économiques examinent comment la région peut mieux gérer les types de chocs qui menacent son approvisionnement alimentaire.
Migration has been the focus of heated political debate in recent years, surfacing misconceptions of its real economic impact. But a new study in The World Economic Outlook shows migration improves economic growth and productivity in host countries. In this podcast, IMF economist and co-author of the study, Margaux MacDonald, says supporting migrants now and ensuring migration trends continue beyond the pandemic will help the global economy recover. TRANSCRIPT
Look for the BLOG at Blogs.IMF.org
Margaux MacDonald is an economist in the IMF's Research Department.
Sub-Saharan Africa is on the front lines of climate change with extreme weather wreaking havoc on infrastructure and agricultural production. COVID-19 introduces yet another level of risk to the food chain. In this podcast, IMF economists Pritha Mitra and Seung Mo Choi say the increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters is weighing down on the region, which relies heavily on rainfed agriculture. The latest Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at how the region can better manage the types of shocks that threaten its food supply.
The pandemic is crippling economies across the globe but for many countries, the economic shock will be magnified by the loss of remittances—money sent home by migrant and guest workers employed in foreign countries. Ralph Chami is an Assistant Director for the Institute for Capacity Development at the IMF. In this podcast, he says remittances are a lifeline for low-income and fragile states and when migrants lose their jobs those remittance flows stop. Chami says it's in everyone's interest for host countries to help support migrant workers through the pandemic.
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
L'Afrique subsaharienne fait face à une crise sanitaire et économique sans précédent qui menace d'inverser une grande partie des progrès de développement qu'elle a réalisés ces dernières années. Les dernières perspectives économiques régionales montrent une contraction de 1,6% cette année, le pire résultat jamais enregistré. Papa N'Diaye est chef de la recherche au Département Afrique du FMI qui publie les perspectives. Dans ce podcast, N'Diaye dit que d'ici la fin de 2020, la région fera face à des pertes de revenus d'environ 200 milliards de dollars par rapport à ce qu'elle attendait il y a 6 mois.
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.
لم تسلم أي منطقة من الآثار الاقتصادية الناجمة عن جائحة فيروس كورونا. ويقول جهاد أزعور إن جائحة كوفيد-19 كان لها تأثير بالغ على منطقة الشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى، نظرا لارتفاع مستوى الاعتماد على النفط والانتشار الواسع للعمل في القطاع غير الرسمي في كثير من بلدان المنطقة. ويرأس السيد أزعور "إدارة الشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى" بصندوق النقد الدولي، وهي الإدارة التي أصدرت مؤخرًا تقرير آفاق الاقتصاد الإقليمي والذي يوضح التحديات الهائلة التي يفرضها التصدي لهذه الجائحة.
يمكنكم قراءة مدونات أخرى لجهاد أزعور حول التأثير العالمي لجائحة كوفيد-19.
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
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.
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
Early in the year, financial markets were buoyed by a widespread sense of optimism on the back of supportive monetary policies, reduced trade tensions, and tentative signs of stabilization in the global economy. But COVID-19 changed all of that. Fabio Natalucci heads the team that produces the IMF's Global Financial Stability Report, the latest one published amid a historic drop in equity markets and volatility levels last seen during the 2008 global financial crisis. In this podcast, Natalucci says the virus pandemic requires a forceful policy response to address health concerns, preserve the stability of the financial system and protect the productive capacity of the economy.
Fabio Natalucci is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
In this podcast, IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva gives a preview of the World Economic Outlook to be released next week during the IMF's first-ever "virtual" Spring Meetings. In normal times, the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings are preceded by a curtain-raiser speech delivered by the Managing Director at a crowded public venue full of economists, academics and journalists. But these are not normal times. Kristalina Georgieva's speech for next week's Spring Meetings was to camera and solemn in tone. The outlook anticipates the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression. TRANSCRIPT
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are taking sweeping measures to halt the advance of Covid-19, imposing limits on public gatherings and the like. But for the region's most vulnerable, social distancing is not realistic. In this podcast, IMF African Department head Abebe Aemro Selassie, says anything that will help contain the spread of the virus, like closing borders to people, will help minimize added strain on already fragile health systems. Selassie says what began as a health crisis is now a major global economic crisis, and he fears African countries will be swept up in that.
Read Selassie's blog and others on the response to the coronavirus at Blogs.IMF.org
The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on lives and economies around the world. In this podcast, we hear IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's statement following her call with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, where they discussed the extraordinary circumstances of the health crisis and the extraordinary measures it will take to mitigate its economic impact.
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The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on just about every aspect of life around the world. The limited human contact required to contain the spread of the virus is hindering economic activity and in turn, putting enormous pressure on the global economy. Martin Mühleisen heads the IMF's Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, which looks at IMF policies and advises management on strategic issues. In this podcast, Mühleisen says even if an individual country is fortunate enough to escape widespread viral contagion of the coronavirus, it's likely it will still feel the economic fallout.
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It took more than 50,000 years for the world population to reach 1 billion people, but since 1960, we have added successive billions every one to two decades. The United Nations projects there will be 9 billion people on the planet by 2037. Demography is the study of life, death and everything we do in between. And throughout human history, we've seen plenty of population booms and busts. In this podcast, Harvard economist and demographer David Bloom, says public policy both shapes and responds to demographic trends. David Bloom's article, Population 2020, is published in the March issue of Finance & Development magazine.
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While the immigration debate tends to focus on culture, identity and potential economic benefits, Giovanni Peri says demographics are the Achilles' heel of the global North. Peri is Director of the Global Migration Center at the University of California, Davis, and in this podcast, he says immigration policies that allow larger numbers of immigrants will help stabilize population growth in the aging advanced economies of the North. Peri's article Immigrant Swan Song is published in the March 2020 issue of Finance and Development magazine.
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Mitigating the effects of climate change takes a multifaceted approach with economic policy playing a pivotal role. In this podcast, we hear from two influential people at the very center of where economic and environmental policies meet. IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva and Lord Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, discuss the significance of the Special Report on Climate Change published in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and how financial institutions can help countries live up to their Paris accord pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Nicholas Stern is Chairman of LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change published in 2006.
Bonds have been helping corporations and governments finance infrastructure and large-scale projects for hundreds of years. But the last decade has seen the emergence of green bonds, driven by increasing environmental awareness within the business community. In this podcast, founder and CEO of Rock Creek, Afsaneh Beschloss, says global asset management firms like hers are seeing a growing demand for climate-related investments. In the first half of 2019 alone, new certified green bond issues topped $100 billion globally. Prior to Rock Creek, Beschloss was treasurer and chief investment officer of the World Bank. Her article A Greener Future for Finance, co-authored with Mina Mashayekhi, is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
South Africa is an important economy in sub-Saharan Africa and when growth is high the entire region benefits. But the latest review of South Africa's economy shows real GDP growth is estimated at about 0.4 percent in 2019 and projected to moderately rise to 1½ percent in the medium term: a level insufficient to raise per-capita income and reduce unemployment. In this podcast, economist Ana Lucia Coronel says South Africa's growth slowdown in recent years stems in part from slow reform implementation to tackle structural impediments to growth. Coronel heads the South Africa team and oversees the writing of the IMF's annual assessment of South Africa's economy.
Inefficiencies in South Africa's state-owned enterprises have triggered costly government bailouts of electricity provider Eskom and others. (iStock by Getty Images/brazzo)
Inequality and climate change are two of the most pressing issues of our time, with repercussions likely to last long into the future. In this podcast, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath sits down with two young leaders to talk about how best to tackle these issues. Lyndsay Walsh (Trinity College, Dublin) and Tarik Gooptu (University of Oxford) are both students and both of a generation that is highly motivated to bridge income gaps and stop global warming. Walsh and Gooptu are the winners of an essay competition launched by Finance and Development Magazine. Their essays are published in the December 2019 issue.
Without major efforts to reduce the accumulation of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, future generations will inherit a much warmer planet with risks of dangerous climate events, higher sea levels, and destruction of the natural world. In this podcast, economist Ian Parry makes the case for carbon taxation as the most effective way to nudge people towards cleaner fuels and to encourage them to adopt more efficient appliances or lower emission vehicles. But while convincing people to buy electric cars and more efficient appliances is important, the largest CO2 emitting countries need to work together to make a real dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. That, Parry says, is proving to be difficult. Parry's latest article Putting a Price on Pollution is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Over two-thirds of global financial institutions have seen an increase in cyberattacks in recent years. In the UK alone, the number of security breaches has increased by over 480%. Cybersecurity is no longer just about firewalls, data encryption, and strong passwords. While those are still necessary, they are not enough to fight a threat that knows no borders. One recent law enforcement operation that started in Spain busted a cyber gang operating in 15 countries and required coordinated efforts with the FBI, Europol and other private companies. In this podcast, three leading specialists in cybersecurity discuss how to create a safer digital world for financial institutions. Carnegie Endowment's Tim Maurer, IMF's Chris Wilson, and Central Bank of Spain's Silvia Senabre participated in a recent workshop on cybersecurity hosted by the IMF.
Tim Maurer is co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.
Silvia Senabre is a mathematician and computer engineer who works on cybersecurity risk evaluation for the Central Bank of Spain.
Chris Wilson is a Senior Financial Sector Expert in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department and co-author of Cybersecurity Risk Supervision.