Center for Global Development | Mon, May 3, 2021
by Masood Ahmed
Most observers gave the IMF high marks for its initial response to the COVID-19 crisis. It responded quickly with emergency financing to 86 countries, including a fivefold increase in its concessional lending to low-income countries (LICs). And its leadership was quick to recognize that the unprecedented nature of the crisis warranted a different approach to macroeconomic and financial policy. “Spend what you can, and then a little bit more” was the right message for the time but a different one than expected from the head of this traditionally conservative institution.
A good initial response now needs to be stepped up and sustained for the protracted, uneven, and uncertain recovery that lies ahead for much of the developing world. The already muted 2021 growth projections for sub-Saharan Africa, for example, are likely to be revised downwards as delays in vaccine delivery hold back the resumption of economic activity. And the current human catastrophe in India, as well as continuing high infection and mortality rates in several other countries, are a stark reminder that this crisis is far from over.