📚 Weekend Read: Emerging Stronger from the Great Lockdown | Financing a Sustainable Recovery | Japan's "Guilt Gap" | Economic Recovery in Africa | Rethinking Global Resilience


IMF Weekend Read

Dear Colleague,

In today's edition we focus on emerging stronger from the great lockdown, financing a sustainable recovery, Japan's "guilt gap", economic recovery in Africa and rethinking global resilience. On that note, let's dive right in.

📅 But first, our 2020 Annual Meetings take place in mid-October, for which we produce a special daily briefing that guides you through the week—pointing to all of the key publications, live events and more. If you'd like to receive this special 7-day update, click here, press send and I'll add you to the list.


Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Chief Economist Gita Gopinath penned a new 2600-word essay for Foreign Policy on the state and future of the global economy amidst the pandemic.

They write: "This crisis is far from over. The recovery remains very fragile and uneven across regions and sectors. To ensure that the recovery continues, it is essential that support not be prematurely withdrawn. Even as people return to work, employment rates in many countries have not returned anywhere close to pre-crisis levels. Job losses have hit younger and lower-skilled workers especially hard. Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2020. And we know from recent global surveys that next to the virus itself, unemployment is people’s highest concern. The impact on global poverty is expected to be severe, with the World Bank projecting 71 million additional people falling into extreme poverty."

"Securing a sustained recovery and emerging stronger from the Great Lockdown will require action on three fronts: First, the health crisis must be brought to an end—durably and everywhere. Impressive advances in vaccine development raise hopes that this objective can be achieved. Second, people need to be able to find productive jobs. This requires preventing excessive firm bankruptcies and creating an environment for job-rich growth. Finally, our future must be more sustainable and inclusive than our past. This requires policies to arrest global warming and reverse rising inequality. Many countries will face daunting fiscal challenges in trying to reconcile the spending required to fight the crisis with the constraints imposed by higher debt and declining revenues. Low-income countries will require continued financial support from the international community."

If you only have time for one article to bring you up to speed, I highly recommend this one. Read it in full here.


"We need to recognize that this crisis is telling us to build resilience for the future," said MD Georgieva in a recent virtual event on financing for development hosted by Finance Minister Freeland of Canada, Finance Minister Clarke of Jamaica, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

"That means investing in education, digital capacity and human capital – the health systems and the social protection systems. We need to make sure the other crises in front of us – like the climate crisis – are well integrated and addressed. And we need to prevent inequality and poverty – including gender inequality – from raising their ugly heads again. To do this, we have to take care of taxation in a way that transforms and builds resilience for the future." Read her full remarks here.

Indeed, more than $10 trillion has been spent on global fiscal policy relief and to contain COVID-19, with new rounds of stimulus to support economic recovery expected as lockdowns relax.

How can capital that is mobilized to counter the economic fallout be directed towards a sustainable and resilient recovery?

Watch this new 60-minute discussion to find out—hosted by the World Economic Forum and featuring IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning at Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Chief Executive Officer at Fidelity International Anne Richards and Director and Professor of Environmental Economics at Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Cameron Hepburn.


Japan’s voluntary month-and-a-half shutdown of the economy in April due to COVID-19 has had a higher cost for women than men. A key reason: a “guilt gap” between women and men, where women often feel compelled to take on more professional sacrifices, writes Chie Aoyagi in a new blog.

Close to one million women—the majority of whom worked in temporary and part-time positions—left the labor force between December and April.

Amid massive disruptions to childcare and schools, research in an IMF Working Paper has helped solidify a universal truth: Women rather than men often face greater responsibility and guilt for being neither the ideal mother nor the ideal employee.

If the labor market was more supportive of work-life balance, then we may have seen a more balanced outcome during the pandemic with both men and women stepping in to help with children. Policies to promote better work-life balance and gender equality will also be critical to help enhance female employment opportunities and careers in the “new normal” after the pandemic is under control. Read the full blog here.


Fiscal policies have been instrumental in addressing the COVID-19 crisis around the world, but as Africa in particular move towards an economic recovery, how can policymakers create fiscal policies that are inclusive, sustainable, and supportive of the recovery? African Department Director Abebe Aemro Selassie recently participated in the Economic Research Southern Africa (ERSA)'s Fiscal Futures panel to discuss exactly this question. Watch his segment here.


In the cover story of our newest issue of F&D, Oxford professor of Globalization and Development Ian Goldin writes that the pandemic has highlighted our lack of immunity to natural threats, but also created an opportunity to reset our economies.

"There is no shortage of ideas regarding green stimulus policies, which offer the potential to build back better and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels. Global protests, from climate to race, have demonstrated the appetite for fresh thinking. And COVID-19 has also demonstrated that citizens are prepared to change their behavior when required to do so. All that remains is for governments to act," explains Goldin.

Read the full 2200-word article here. Prefer the PDF? Download here.

Interested in the full issue? Click here. Be sure to check out other feature stories like the debt pandemic and race in economics.

📢 Also, whether you live in New York or Nairobi, if you're interested in receiving a free print copy of the magazine every quarter in your preferred language, click here to access an exclusive mailing form for newsletter subscribers.


We just updated our global policy tracker to help our member countries be more aware of the experiences of others in combating COVID-19, and we are regularly updating our lending tracker, which visualizes the latest emergency financial assistance and debt relief to member countries approved by the IMF’s Executive Board.

To date, 75 countries have been approved for emergency financing, totaling over US$30 billion. Looking for our Q&A about the IMF's response to COVID-19? Click here. We are also continually producing a special series of notes—more than 50 to date—by IMF experts to help members address the economic effects of COVID-19 on a range of topics including fiscal, legal, statistical, tax and more.


MD Georgieva will be participating in a number of climate-related events next week so stay tuned for those updates. Thank you again very much for your interest in the Weekend Read. We really appreciate your time. If you have any questions, comments or feedback of any kind, please do write me a note

And if you're on LinkedIn, subscribe to this newsletter in a more 📈 visual format.


Rahim Kanani

Rahim Kanani
Editor, IMF Weekend Read


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