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Nordine Abidi, Mehdi El Herradi, and Sahra Sakha
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented shock to firms with adverse consequences for existing productive capacities. At the same time, digitalization has increasingly been touted as a key pathway for mitigating economic losses from the pandemic, and we expect firms facing digital constraints to be less resilient to supply shocks. This paper uses firm-level data to investigate whether digitally-enabled firms have been able to mitigate economic losses arising from the pandemic better than digitally-constrained firms in the Middle East and Central Asia region using a difference-in-differences approach. Controlling for demand conditions, we find that digitally-enabled firms faced a lower decline in sales by about 4 percentage points during the pandemic compared to digitally-constrained firms, suggesting that digitalization acted as a hedge during the pandemic. Against this backdrop, our results suggest that policymakers need to close the digital gap and accelerate firms’ digital transformation. This will be essential for economies to bounce back from the pandemic, and build the foundations for future resilience.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are a key part of Georgia’s economy, accounting for a significant portion of GDP, employment and public investment. They deliver critical services in important economic sectors, including gas, electricity, water and transportation. Improving their performance is a critical step in the path to becoming a high income country. Since 2012, the authorities have been taking concrete steps to address challenges arising from the SOE sector. Substantial progress has been achieved in disclosing fiscal risks arising from SOEs in the Fiscal Risk Statement; increasing the monitoring capacity at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) by establishing a Fiscal Risk Management Unit (FRMU); rationalizing the number of SOEs; sectorizing them in line with international statistical standards; partially unwinding the role of the Partnership Fund; and restructuring some specific SOEs.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears now somewhat contained. The number of positive cases and related deaths has been very limited over the last few months, even though most containment measures have been progressively loosened. Despite some progress since the February 2019 peace agreement, the security situation remains precarious. Despite some delays in voter registration, the first round of the presidential and general elections is still scheduled on December 27.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears now somewhat contained. The number of positive cases and related deaths has been very limited over the last few months, even though most containment measures have been progressively loosened. Despite some progress since the February 2019 peace agreement, the security situation remains precarious. Despite some delays in voter registration, the first round of the presidential and general elections is still scheduled on December 27.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
In the past two years, the NBG has adopted a series of measures to strengthen nonbank sector financial regulation, supervision, and oversight.1 The MCM TA mission in 2017 provided recommendations along these lines, most of which have been implemented by the NBG. Currently, the nonbank sector consists of Micro Financial Institutions (MFIs) and Loan Issuing Entities (LIEs). In reforming the sector, the NBG has, among others: (i) amended laws and issued new and revised regulations on registration, capital, and liquidity requirements for MFIs; (ii) significantly expanded supervisory powers and authorities and increased supervisory resources for the nonbank sector; (iii) registered 200 LIEs; and (iv) put in place consumer protection and responsibility lending rules. These new measures have helped to enhance the resilience of the nonbank sector, weed out those that are non-viable, and improved the reputation of the MFI brand.