Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all countries, output losses vary considerably across countries. We provide a first analysis of robust determinants of observed initial output losses using model-averaging techniques—Weighted Average Least Squares and Bayesian Model Averaging. The results suggest that countries that experienced larger output losses are those with lower GDP per capita, more stringent containment measures, higher deaths per capita, higher tourism dependence, more liberalized financial markets, higher pre-crisis growth, lower fiscal stimulus, higher ethnic and religious fractionalization and more democratic regimes. With respect to the first factor, lower resilience of poorer countries reflects the higher economic costs of containment measures and deaths in such countries and less effective fiscal and monetary policy stimulus.
The contents of this report constitute technical advice provided by the staff of the IMF to the authorities of Bangladesh in response to their request for technical assistance. The purpose of the mission was to assist the Bangladesh Bank (BB) in progressing on the compilation of a residential property price index. BB has plans to set up a new data collection system to improve the current existing data starting from July 2020. The new data collection will expand the geographic coverage and the type of dwellings and mostly will increase the current sample resulting in more accurate results. The mission recommended the use of R instead of other software since it allows to perform all the necessary calculations in one script and single software. The mission provided training particularly on the hedonic methods, chain linking and rebasing. The hedonic methods are the most recommended to address the quality changes on the mix of dwellings transacted when following the price of real estate.
Marco A Espinosa-Vega, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova, Miss Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, and Ms. Yingjie Fan
This departmental paper marks the 10th anniversary of the IMF Financial Access Survey (FAS). It offers a retrospective of the FAS database, along with some reflections as to its future directions.
Since its 2009 launch, the FAS has provided granular data on access to and use of financial services. It is a supply-side database with annual global coverage based on data sourced directly from financial service providers—aimed at supporting policymakers to target and evaluate financial inclusion policies. Its data collection has kept pace with financial innovation, such as the rise of mobile money and growing demand for gender-disaggregated data—and the FAS must continue to evolve.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 percent in the 1970s to 7 percent over the last decade. Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades. Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks to India’s increasing performance, contributes to over 15 percent of global growth.
Looking ahead, the authors find that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy, in both relative and absolute terms. India has overtaken China as the fastest growing large economy and South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance.
Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labor market by 2030. This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy. Amid a changing global economic landscape, the authors argue that South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.