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Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-07-11) World BankMore than three years after the first COVID-19 case was discovered in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region, it is time to take stock of the lasting effects—and opportunities—of the pandemic and identify which policies may have helped stem the economic losses suffered by households and firms. To do so, this regional report examines the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households and firms in six countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This volume examines: (a) the links between impacts on firms and households, in particular through the employment channel, and (b) governments’ fiscal responses to the COVID crisis, through transfers, subsidies, and taxes. It identifies and explains changes in household well-being by examining the economic effects of the pandemic on labor markets. As the source of employment and wage income, businesses have a direct role in determining jobs and earnings, and, indirectly, welfare, poverty, and inequality. When faced with a shock, firms responded by adjusting employment, reducing wages, increasing prices, and reducing services provided. All of these channels directly affected households’ wellbeing. For this reason, the report focuses on firms in addition to households. Governments responded through various instruments, providing transfers and subsidies and lowering the tax burden to both households and firms.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-10) World Bank GroupRwanda achieved rapid export growth in the decade before the pandemic. In addition, Rwanda has expanded business tourism by promoting the meetings, incentives, conferences/conventions, and events/exhibitions industry. Air transport services was another key export, as a growing number of international airlines are serving Rwanda. However, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic depressed goods and especially, services exports in 2020. Sustained growth in trade will be a key driver for achieving the government’s goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2035. While exports have increased significantly over the past two decades, Rwanda remains a less open country than the middle-income countries the government aspires to match. Regional integration can not only provide the needed economic scale for Rwandan firms to improve their productivity and competitiveness, but can also serve as a vital training ground for learning to export and produce higher-quality goods The aim of this report is to assess policy options to foster international trade, deepen regional integration, and reinforce the government diversification strategy through services. The first part of this report assesses Rwandan trade performances and trade potential in recent years, with a special emphasis on regional trade, trade in services, and the impact of the COVID-19. The second part of the report assesses the main drivers and challenges to international and regional trade in Rwanda including: i) trade policy, with special emphasis on non-tariff barriers and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; ii) trade facilitation with special emphasis on Rwanda’s trade logistic ambitions; iii) supply side trade constraints at the firm-level; and iv) specific trade challenges to trade in service and data exchanges. The third part of the report discusses potential recommendations.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-01-01) World BankThe South African financial system has weathered the shock of COVID-19 but faces growing risks emanating from a weak macroeconomic outlook. The pandemic crisis hit South Africa hard, with nonresident capital outflows accelerating and the domestic and global slowdown precipitating a6.4 percent GDP contraction in 2020. A brief period of liquidity stress was managed with new central bank facilities and a lowering of liquidity requirements; and banks proved resilient thanks to sound capital and liquidity buffers. Asset management and pension assets saw falling valuations, but redemption pressures quickly dissipated as markets stabilized. The intensification of the sovereign financial system nexus emerging from the crisis poses risks going forward, and a resurgence of the pandemic could deteriorate asset quality. Banks are resilient in the FSAP’s baseline; however, amedium-term adverse stress scenario would cause a significant decline in capital although most banks would remain sufficiently capitalized. Under stress, banks could face some liquidity gaps, particularly at very short maturities, highlighting the importance of continued close monitoring. The impact of COVID-19 on insurers has thus far been contained, but prudential rules should be strengthened to ensure the measure of capital is sufficiently robust.