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Economic fallout from pandemic to continue for years to come: IMF

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WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that even though the recovery is underway, the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will be there for years to come.
The 2021 Annual Report of the IMF states this, highlighting the global lender’s work on the response to Covid-19; the great divergence; debt; and building toward a green, inclusive, and digital future.
In fiscal year 2021, the IMF continued to support its members in three core areas of activity including economic surveillance, lending and capacity development. According to the report, 36 country health checks were completed under economic surveillance, $98 billion lent to 54 countries, including $10 billion to 31 low-income countries (for a total of $110+ billion since the start of the pandemic), while $251 million were spent for hands-on technical advice, policy-oriented training, and peer learning.
The report says that more than a year into a crisis like no other, the IMF has mobilised a response like no other. As of end-April 2021, loans have been approved to 86 countries of more than $110 billion-a record number.
It says the crisis exacerbated existing, pre-pandemic vulnerabilities, and countries’ prospects are diverging. Nearly half of emerging market and developing economies and some middle-income countries risk falling further behind, undoing much of the progress made toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Within countries, inequality is on the rise as well; workers with fewer skills, youth, women, and those informally employed are suffering disproportionate income losses.
Sustaining the recovery will require an ongoing policy push, including to secure and expand access to vaccines and to maintain economic lifelines and targeted policy support, tailored to the stage of the pandemic, the strength of the economic recovery, and countries’ structural characteristics. – TLTP