Reimagining a post-COVID world

By Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Globalisation and Development Strategies Division, UNCTAD


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The coronavirus has ruptured our world and, as with past global pandemics, raised fundamental questions about the way we organise society and the values that structure our lives. But it has also encouraged us to imagine a better world. However, if we are to act on that imagination, we will need to acknowledge the mistakes of the last decade, above all in the world’s richest economies.

Recovering better demands that we treat the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to identify and address underlying structural barriers, at both the national and global levels, in the way of a more prosperous, equitable and resilient future. This did not happen after the global financial crisis when returning to business as usual was the winning policy mindset. But higher share prices or fuller treasuries, or more sophisticated supply chains will not be the basis on which future generations judge our response to the current crisis.

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Achieving inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and the SDGs in the post-COVID-19 world

By Professor Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the context of international development, the year 2015 marked the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the much broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the much more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It signalled an emerging paradigm shift in the international development agenda, a collectively agreed set of universal goals for an inclusive and sustainable global development process.

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How can island states reimagine tourism for green recovery?

Riad Meddeb, Senior Principal Advisor for Small Island Developing States, UNDP


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. This blog is also a part of a thread looking more specifically at the impacts and responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Grenada’s Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Beauséjour Marine. Credit: Grenada Tourism Authority

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have experienced great success in expanding their tourism industries, particularly over the past 10 years. The industry is an economic lifeline and driver of development for many SIDS. Their rich biodiversity and beautiful ecosystems attracted around 44 million visitors in 2019. However, global travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated SIDS’ economies. Compared to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), export revenues from tourism represent about 9% of SIDS economies. In countries like St. Lucia and Palau, tourism revenues make up 98 and 88 percent of total exports respectively. It is a vital source of revenue for community livelihoods, disaster recovery, biodiversity and cultural heritage preservation.

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Strengthening the climate resilience of cities through cross-border co-operation

By Richard Clarke, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

The southern nations of West Africa are beginning to experience the second and shorter of their rainy seasons, whilst those countries further north are seeing the end of theirs. For many the happiness of seeing these rains is mixed with anxieties from memories past and current realities. Exceptionally heavy seasonal rainfall in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2017 saw several major rivers break their banks, causing destruction of houses, bridges, roads and crops, wrecking livelihoods and displacing vast swathes of the population.

In recent weeks, floods have severely hit parts of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, leading to the death of at least 107 people and affecting hundreds of thousands. In Senegal, a state of emergency has been declared following heavy rainfalls and the death of four citizens, while in Chad nearly 200,000 people have been affected. Yet again, the urgent need for immediate action to mitigate and alleviate the effects of climate change has been exposed.

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Scaling-up job opportunities in food systems for youth and women in West Africa

By Koffi Zougbédé, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC)

In 2011, Fatoumata Cissoko, a graduate in accounting and a young woman living in Guinea, launched her dried-fruit processing company with USD 260. Her company produces about 16 tonnes of dried pineapple a year sold in many shops and supermarkets in the capital, Conakry, and other cities around the country. Recently, her company increased its production capacity substantially to improve its competitiveness in regional and international markets. Fatoumata also opened an organic restaurant to complete the production chain and she directly employs 15 women. The story of Fatoumata is one example of the many emerging job opportunities in West Africa’s food systems.

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Building resilience and infrastructure in a warming world

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By Jan Corfee-Morlot, New Climate Economy/ World Resources Institute (WRI), Nancy Kete, Kete Consulting and Delger Erdenesanaa, WRI


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


Solar panels and roadInvestment in tackling climate change is still very small compared to the expected adverse impacts on society and nature. The economic costs of climate change are estimated to range from 2-10% of global GDP loss by the end of this century. Flood-related damages alone under high emissions scenarios might account for 3% of global GDP in 2100, translating to losses in the range of USD 14-27 trillion per year. In today’s US dollars, this would be equivalent to losing the combined GDP of China and India in the best-case scenario, and US, Canada and Germany combined, in the worst case.

Currently most climate funding supports work to reduce emissions rather than for adaptation to impacts. While the world must strive for net-zero emissions and the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must at the same time plan for conditions that may be much worse. Continue reading

Why quality assurance infrastructure matters to fight COVID-19 in developing countries?

By Karl-Christian Göthner, Consultant, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt PTB, Germany


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


Quality-Assurance-Infrastructure-COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that health systems in many countries – developed and developing – were not prepared for such a crisis. Since 2005, several organisations have warned about the consequences of pandemics, issuing recommendations to prepare for critical health situations (WHO 2005, World Economic Forum 2006). However, in many countries few of these recommendations were followed. In September 2019, before the outbreak in China, a study by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security stated that in many countries a lot remained to be done to improve preparedness for pandemics. When the COVID-19 pandemic appeared, most countries had to improvise, with the threat that it would overwhelm their health systems, depending on the timing and extent of their measures and the state of their national health systems. National trade restrictions, interrupting supply chains and impeding medical and protective equipment exports, have also exacerbated the situation. Continue reading

Building a Resilient Future for Asia after COVID-19: How can ADB help?

By Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist and Director General, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank, Cyn-Young Park, Director for Regional Cooperation and Integration, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank, Rolando Avendano, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


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The latest estimates of the COVID-19 impact paint a grim picture of severe economic and job losses for developing Asia. ADB’s latest study estimates that the pandemic could cost the region from 6.2% to 9.3% in lost regional GDP, depending on whether it entails a 3-month or a 6-month containment scenario. This effect accounts for 30% of the expected overall decline in global output. The region is also expected to take the brunt of employment losses: the study projects losses from 6.0% (109 million) to 9.2% (167 million) of total employment, representing 70% of global employment losses. The shock is estimated to be seven times higher than during the global financial crisis.

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Re-imagining cities in the COVID-19 era

By Robert Muggah, Principal, SecDev Group & Co-founder, Igarape Institute


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


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Empty streets in Lima, Peru, during the Coronavirus outbreak, March 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is quietly and radically reconfiguring cities around the world. It has already brought several of the world’s global cities to their knees. In addition to the billions of people forced to work remotely are another billion living in slums who depend on the informal economy, have few safety nets and are seeing their incomes and livelihoods upended. With the COVID-19 pandemic now rapidly intensifying in lower- and middle-income cities and neighbourhoods, it is overwhelming under-resourced hospitals, demolishing commerce, shredding remittances, straining digital infrastructure, increasing vulnerability to cyberattacks and intensifying mental health illnesses. Many cities were already facing massive liabilities and revenue shortfalls before the outbreak of the pandemic – yet these are set to intensify dramatically around the world. Continue reading

COVID-19 and the global contraction in foreign direct investment

By Adnan Seric, Research and Industrial Policy Officer at the Department of Policy Research and Statistics (PRS) at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Jostein Hauge, Research Fellow at the Centre for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (Institute for Manufacturing) at the University of Cambridge


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


shutterstock_163440290COVID-19 is uprooting economic globalisation. As both supply and demand are experiencing simultaneous shocks due to lockdown measures, global production networks and international trade flows are being disrupted on a scale never seen before. Disruptions to flows of portfolio and foreign direct investments (FDI) — which are part and parcel of economic globalisation — are no exception. According to the International Monetary Fund, investors removed over US$100 billion of portfolio investment from developing countries since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the largest capital outflows ever recorded. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global FDI flows are expected to contract by 40% during 2020/21.

The contraction in FDI is going to hit developing countries particularly hard, mainly for two reasons. First, FDI inflows to developing countries are expected to drop even more than the global average seeing that sectors that have been severely impacted by the pandemic account for a larger share of FDI inflows in developing countries. Second, developing countries have become more reliant on FDI over the last few decades — FDI inflows to developing countries increased from US$14 billion to US$706 billion (current prices) between 1985 and 2018, as seen from Figure 1. As a share of world FDI inflows, this represents an increase from 25% to 54%. Continue reading