The Development Committee’s communiqué highlights the role the WBG and IMF play in helping countries rebuild better for an inclusive and sustainable recovery, promoting affordable energy access and energy security, and tackling economic and environmental vulnerabilities, including climate change.
The International Monetary and Financial Committee’s communiqué recognizes “free, fair, and mutually beneficial goods and services trade and investment” as “key engines for growth and job creation”.
The IMF launched Regional Economic Outlook reports for the Middle East and Central Asia, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.
The 2020 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global outlook, the pathway to recovery, and developments in the international financial system.
The event, which convened from 12-18 October primarily in a virtual format, included meetings of the Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).
Addressing the 2020 Annual Meetings plenary, WBG President David Malpas highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic’s “enormous” toll, particularly on the poorest countries, which are “likely to suffer the longest and hardest.” He identified four most urgent aspects of “rebuilding in better ways”: alleviating poverty and inequality; addressing the loss of human capital; reducing the debt burdens of the poorest countries; and fostering an inclusive and resilient recovery. Recognizing the “staggering” scale of the challenges ahead, Malpass expressed confidence that “sustainable solutions will emerge.” He stressed the role of strong governance systems in encouraging innovation, which, with “new uses for existing assets, workers using their skills in new ways, and a reset on excessive debt burdens,” can facilitate innovation and change.
In a communiqué issued following a virtual meeting on 16 October, the Development Committee highlights the pandemic’s impacts on investments, trade, and remittance flows, jobs and livelihoods, food and medical supplies availability, and peace and security. These impacts, the Committee states, threaten “hard-won development gains” as COVID-19 continues to overwhelm health systems, disrupt productivity, threaten food security, multiply job losses, and reduce incomes, particularly for the most vulnerable.
The communiqué calls on the WBG and IMF to continue working with countries, the public and private sectors, international organizations, and development partners to muster “a comprehensive, robust global response” to the pandemic. It urges the WBG to “further the response,” maintaining the focus on “ending extreme poverty and fostering shared prosperity in a sustainable manner” and supporting the SDGs.
The communiqué welcomes the recently approved USD 12 billion in financing to support COVID-19 vaccine purchase and deployment in International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) countries, and encourages intensified action to build preparedness and resilience against future pandemics. The Committee emphasizes the role of digital technologies in this context.
The communiqué highlights the role the WBG and IMF play in helping countries rebuild better for an inclusive and sustainable recovery, promoting affordable energy access and energy security, and tackling economic and environmental vulnerabilities, including climate change. The Committee encourages the WBG and IMF to continue to review the debt challenges of low- and middle-income countries and explore solutions to their fiscal and debt stress on a case-by-case basis.
Addressing the Development Committee, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva recommended that policymakers:
- avoid premature withdrawal of support for the economy;
- gradually redirect public support to underpin structural change and the post-pandemic economy;
- deal with “pre-existing conditions” impeding effective institutions, transparent governance, and high quality of spending;
- support efforts to enhance the international architecture for resolving sovereign debt problems; and
- guarantee access to essential health supplies.
The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) issued a communiqué on 15 October. Hinting at a “tentative global economic recovery,” the IMFC commits to use “all available policy tools, individually and collectively, to restore confidence, jobs, and growth.” The Committee recognizes “free, fair, and mutually beneficial goods and services trade and investment” as “key engines for growth and job creation,” and undertakes to “advance structural reforms to lift growth, employment, and productivity,” among other commitments.
The communiqué also calls for “international cooperation to accelerate the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines” for all.
During the 2020 Annual Meetings, the IMF launched Regional Economic Outlook reports for the Middle East and Central Asia, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. [2020 Annual Meetings Website]