Following on from the recently convened meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Masood Ahmed lays out a two track agenda for the COVID-19 financial response.
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While the spread of COVID-19 overshadowed the launch of the first digital strategy from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in early April, the pandemic has also highlighted its significance by calling attention to the importance of access to digital technology and accelerating the global trend towards increased reliance on digital systems.
The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: Projections of Economic Growth Falling Further, Food Insecurity, and A Round-Up of Other Recent Analysis
Travel restrictions and lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 continue to impact the economic outlook for low- and middle-income countries. Despite the unabated increase in infections, some countries have started reopening farms and factories to combat the threat of massive economic loss and hunger. Multilateral emergency financing, expanded social safety nets, and tax measures remain top policy priorities for affected countries.
As shown by the technical underpinnings of its Ehsaas emergency program, Pakistan has all of the necessary building blocks to roll out its digital payments system and expand access to mobile money. It should seize the opportunity.
As low- and middle-income countries are hit by the health and economic effects of COVID-19, the international community is working to mobilize billions of dollars in grants, loans, and debt relief. At the moment, it is difficult to get a full picture of the funding on offer, to whom it is given, and how it will be used.