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Monday, 20 July 2020

IMF director Kristalina Georgieva on Egypt, covid-19 and the future of education

IMF director Kristalina Georgieva on Egypt, covid-19 and the future of education: Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi aired her full interview with IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva. The two talked about the Egyptian government’s response to the covid-19 crisis, the IMF’s expectations for the global economy, and the need for robust education systems. Here are the key talking points:

Egypt’s response to covid-19: Georgieva praised the speed at which Egypt responded to the crisis, in particular its efforts to firm up the social safety net and protect vulnerable citizens through the pandemic. Egypt has implemented appropriate monetary policies for the USD 8 bn in emergency loans it has received from the IMF, she said, adding that it is important for the country to stay the course and continue on the reform journey it started back in 2016.

Don’t bank on a global recovery until we have a vaccine: Although some parts of the world are now seeing a partial economic recovery from the chaos witnessed earlier this year, Georgieva warned that any return to a semblance of pre-covid normalcy is dependent on scientists finding a vaccine. Fiscal measures aside, she urged governments to focus on strengthening their health and educational systems.

Digitizing our education systems is paramount: Failing to harness technology in our education systems and investing in digital infrastructure will reduce the productive capacities of countries in the coming years, she said. This is particularly critical in lower-income countries with less reliable internet connections, which she warned could face a lost generation as children lose access to education through the pandemic.

Governments need to do more to help small businesses: Georgieva called on governments in developing economies to provide more support to SMEs and warned that bankruptcies could triple if policy measures are inadequate.

Oil exporters need to diversify: Georgieva expressed optimism that the crash in oil prices has bottomed out, noting that prices have regained around 50% of the losses seen during the first four months of the year. She advised oil-exporting countries to diversify their economies and not rely on one sector to insulate against future commodity price shocks.

Tap/click here to watch the full interview (runtime: 28:41).

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