Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean


EMEA’s Mediterranean economists examining coronavirus responses



           

The Euro-Mediterranean Economists’ Association (EMEA) has been poring over reports of the Covid-19 spread in ten countries and analysing the political responses, with a view to limiting the pandemic’s economic impact. Version française



EMEA’s Mediterranean economists examining coronavirus responses

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EMEA’s Mediterranean economists examining coronavirus responses
As at 21st April, 2020, there had been more than 2.5 million reported cases of coronavirus infection worldwide. Originating in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019, the pandemic reached Northern Italy by the first few days of January, 2020, and then Spain. By mid-February, it had spread to the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.
 
“Containing the disease through drastic confinement measures and restrictions on movement has been the preferred option, but at a high financial and socio-economic costs and without consideration for the global nature of the crisis,” points out an EMEA (Euro-Mediterranean Economists’ Association) report dated 22nd April, 2020. Overseen by EMEA president and EMNES (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Economic Studies) director Rym Ayadi, the report looks at the spread of Covid-19 and the government response in ten countries*. More than a dozen economists have dissected the health systems’ state of preparedness and efficiency (deemed poor), the implementation of confinement measures (with conclusive outcomes on the number of cases) and the solidarity measures put in place (rapidly) to ease the socio-economic fallout.
 
All the Mediterranean countries, in both the north and south, are assisting businesses through credit and tax facilities and a relaxing of banking regulations. Egypt and Morocco are even offering schemes targeting workers in the informal sector.

No government was prepared for managing this crisis

“This major upheaval has tested the resilience of our economic and social systems in absorbing the impact of external factors,” says the report. According to its authors, “not one government of a developed or developing nation was prepared for preventing or managing this crisis.” The report even highlights inconsistencies, such as a higher number of deaths than of severe cases in some countries, revealing problems with diagnosis.
For Rym Ayadi, “those that have a good health safety net are coping better. Those that have tested on a large scale and chosen transparency have shown a better ability to manage the impact.” The EMEA president notes, however, that both Spain and Italy were slow in implementing confinement.
 
“Would a different timetable and level of preparedness been more effective in saving lives and been less costly economically?” ask the economists in the report. The G20 nations and international organizations have already allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in trying to mitigate the economic and social effects of the pandemic. “It remains to be seen, however, if the timing and effectiveness of these policies are adequate.” The authors question whether coordinating the governments’ responses at regional, national and international levels wouldn’t have allowed a better leveraging of feedback from the countries first infected.
This analysis table, which is regularly updated, will allow the EMEA economists to continue their studies.
 
* Algeria, Egypt, Spain, Ghana, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia



View the report "Covid-19 in the Mediterranean and Africa. Diagnosis, Policy responses, Preliminary assessment and Way forward "
Authors : Rym Ayadi, Samir Abdullah Ali, Nooh Alshyab, Kwame Sarpong Barnieh, Yacine Belarbi, Sandra Chalita, Najat El Mekkaoui, Kinga Konya, Rim Ben Ayed Mouelhi, Racha Ramadan, Serena Sandri, Mais Shaban, Sara Ronco, Chahir Zaki.




Tuesday, April 28th 2020



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