The International Monetary Fund has expressed its concern that the world is facing a two-track pandemic that is causing a two-track economic recovery with negative consequences for everybody.
Gerry Rice, IMF’s communications director, said that the gap in access to vaccines between rich countries and poor countries is at the heart of this problem. He also stressed that the G7 leaders meeting should build on the progress made previously at the G7 finance ministers meeting, where they discussed the urgent priority of responding to the pandemic and in particular supporting emerging and developing countries in terms of their access to vaccinations.
“IMF staff have put forward a very concrete proposal for a coordinated strategy to essentially end the pandemic in 2022. We put out the very specific measures that we think are required in terms of vaccination. 40 per cent of the population in every country to be vaccinated by the end of 2021. 60 per cent of the population in every country to be vaccinated by the end by the middle of 2022. We have put a financing number behind that, a price tag if you like, of $50 billion. We have broken down how we think that can be provided. The bulk of that, the vast majority of that should come in grant form for the most vulnerable countries. We’ve talked about the massive economic potential economic return on the $50 billion somewhere in the region of $9 trillion by 2025,” said Rice
On Cameroon, Rice confirmed that the IMF is aware of the recent investigation the Cameroonian authorities launched on the use of the two emergency RCF disbursements the Executive Board approved on May 4th and October 21st, 2020 to help the country address the Covid-19 pandemic. He also added that “member countries should spend as much as they can but keep the receipts.”
“We are aware of a recent investigation that the Cameroonian authorities launched regarding the use of emergency financing disbursements that were approved last year, again to help Cameroon address the pandemic. And again, we have been stressing the importance of good governance, a proper use around these funds. It’s something we’ve been emphasising repeatedly. We don’t want accountability and transparency to take a back seat in this crisis,” said Rice.
The IMF and the authorities have agreed on specific measures to strengthen governance and reduce vulnerabilities to corruption. These include the publication of the results of Covid-19 related public procurement and beneficial ownership of companies receiving procurement contracts, the issuance of a report on Covid-19 related spending and an independent audit of the spending.
The IMF is also engaging with the Cameroonian authorities on these issues and on how best to help them in their continuing efforts to fight the pandemic to save lives and livelihoods in a transparent manner.
On India, Rice said that the Indian economy is important to the global economy due to its large share in global and regional GDP. And therefore, India’s growth and economic outlook has broader implications, with spill overs working primarily through trade linkages and global supply chains, which are particularly strong with South Asia and that region.
He also announced that the IMF welcomes the government’s announcement to facilitate access to vaccinations and to provide additional support to minimize the social cost of the pandemic and that the IMF will review India’s growth forecast next July with the launch of the World Economic Outlook update.
“The IMF welcomes the Indian government’s announcement to facilitate access to vaccinations and to provide additional support to minimise the social cost of the pandemic and to relieve the human, the very human costs of the pandemic. We strongly welcome the government’s announcement on that point. On the Indian economy, the second wave, which you mentioned, and associated containment measures suggest a sharp fall in economic activity, and we will be revising India’s growth forecast next month in the update to the World Economic Outlook, that’s coming up shortly,” added Rice.