COVID-19: 170 countries’ll experience negative income growth – IMF

About 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic causing global economic challenges, the International Monetary Fund has said.

The Managing Director, IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, said it was already clear that global growth would turn sharply negative in 2020 as it would be revealed in World Economic Outlook next week.

She said, “In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the great depression. Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020.

“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”

While noting that the bleak outlook applied to advanced and developing economies alike, she said the crisis knew no boundaries.

Given the necessary containment measures to slow the spread of the virus, she said the world economy was taking a substantial hit.

She said, “This is especially true for retail, hospitality, transport, and tourism.

“In most countries, the majority of workers are either self-employed or employed by the Small and Medium Enterprises. These businesses and workers are especially exposed.”

Georgieva said as the health crisis hit vulnerable people hardest, the economic crisis was expected to hit weak countries hardest.

She said the IMF had $1tn in lending capacity and was placing it at the service of its membership.

The IMF managing director said, “We are responding to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing—from over 90 countries so far.

“Our executive board has just agreed to double access to our emergency facilities, which will allow us to meet the expected demand of about $100bn in financing.

“Lending programmes have already been approved at record speed—including for the Kyrgyz Republic, Rwanda, Madagascar, and Togo—with many more to come.

<<Punch>>