The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) are going to kick off on Monday 12, and will remain in session till 18 October. The meetings come amid unprecedented conditions because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the severe impact it has had on the whole world.
The autumn meetings are scheduled to be held from Washington virtually for the second time in a row as a result of the pandemic.
The meetings are designed to bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.
They are also expected to include seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and other events focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global outlook, the pathway to recovery, and developments in the international financial system.
Given that the ongoing crisis has hit the global economy, the meetings will witness the release of the global economic outlook report after revisiting it from June’s edition, in light of the recent updates.
On 6 October, IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that global economic activity took an unprecedented fall in the second quarter of 2020, when about 85 percent of the world economy was in lockdown for several weeks.
Despite the IMF, in June, projecting a severe global GDP contraction in 2020, Georgieva expounded that the picture today is less dire, as the IMF now estimates that developments in the second and third quarters of 2020 were somewhat better than expected.
In this regard, Georgieva revealed that the coming global economic outlook report will witness a small upward revision to the IMF global forecast for 2020, while 2021 will see a partial and uneven recovery.
She also disclosed that global public debt will reach a record-high of about 100 percent of GDP in 2020.
In June, the IMF downgraded the global growth outlook to 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percent below the April forecast, expecting it to rebound in 2021 to 5.4 percent, 0.4 percent lower than the April forecast amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Regarding the GDP growth, the IMF maintained Egypt’s GDP growth at 2 percent over 2020 and 2021, the same expectation from April's forecast, making Egypt the only country to achieve positive economic growth during the current fiscal year in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
According to the IMF's April outlook, Egypt’s real GDP growth was forecast to drop to two percent in 2020, down from 5.6 percent in 2019, because of the pandemic, yet the country’s economy could still grow to 2.8 percent in 2021.
The economic growth in emerging markets and developing economies was projected to slow down to three percent, down by two percent from April's forecast, and to increase to 5.9 percent, down by 0.7 percent compared to April's forecast.
On the WBG side, its annual report, that was released on Thursday, projected the MENA region to see a 4.2 percent contraction in economic growth by the end of 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 0.2 percent positive growth recorded in 2019.
Although the WBG’s report on the MENA regional economic outlook was expected to be announced this week, the bank delayed the release to the third week of October to cover the recent updates.