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Full or partial lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 are having crippling effects on businesses and workers across Asia, as elsewhere. Among the most vulnerable of the workers are the ones working in part-time and temporary jobs without social insurance, and in sectors of the economy that are neither taxed, nor regulated by any form of government.
Varapat Chensavasdijai is the Deputy Division Chief of Caribbean I Division in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department. He is the mission chief for Trinidad and Tobago. Previously, he was in the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, working on debt and external policy issues and IMF programs with Ireland and Ukraine. He was also in the Asia and Pacific Department, covering a broad range of countries including Korea, Maldives, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Prior to joining the IMF, he worked at the Bank of Thailand. He holds a BSc and MSc from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Oxford University.
This blog is part of a special series on the response to the coronavirus.
A key role of government is to protect the well-being of its people—most crucially and visibly during emergencies such as the recent outbreak of the coronavirus. The IMF has $50 billion available in rapid-disbursing emergency financing to help countries suffering from the virus. As Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, what we want is to guarantee that people are not going to die because of a lack of money. (more…)
September 26, 2018
Asia’s digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down. From e-commerce giants like China’s Alibaba and Japan’s Rakuten, to ride-hailing, and digital payment tech startups, like Indonesia’s Go-Jek and India’s Paytm, and the widespread use of industrial robots for manufacturing, digitalization is changing the way the region’s businesses operate. (more…)
Alex Mourmouras is division chief in the Asia and Pacific department of the IMF where he has served as mission chief for Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. He was previously division chief in the IMF Institute for Capacity Development and economist in the Fund’s Policy Development and Review and Fiscal Affairs Departments. He holds a Ph.D in economics from the University of Minnesota and a BA degree from Harvard College.
By Rabah Arezki
Agriculture and food markets are plagued with inefficiencies that have dramatic consequences for the welfare of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Globally, farm subsidies amount to over $560 billion a year—equivalent to nearly four times the aid given to developing countries by richer ones. Major emerging-market nations have increased subsidies rapidly, even as rich nations cut theirs drastically. Meanwhile, tariffs on farm products remain a major point of contention in global trade talks.
One third of global food production goes to waste, while food insecurity is still rampant in developing countries. Even with the explosion of agricultural productivity since the middle of the 20th century, food security remains a challenge for much of the developing world. Food-calorie production will have to expand by 70 percent by 2050 to keep up with a global population that’s forecast to grow to 9.7 billion from last year’s 7.3 billion. Food insecurity can lead to violence and conflicts that can spill over well beyond borders. (more…)
Version in 中文 (Chinese)
China’s economy leaves nobody indifferent. The world is watching closely as the second largest economy in the world is shifting its growth model from an export-driven one to one centered on household consumption. As China’s economy slows and rebalances, its impact is being felt on an already fragile global economy, and particularly in the rest of the Asia region. Our recent studies show that while China’s rebalancing will adversely affect some Asian economies, it will also open opportunities for several others.