World Bank forecasts Maldives to bear the greatest economic loss from South Asia

PUBLISHED April 14, 2020

The World Bank reports Maldives to be the most financially affected country from all South Asian countries due to the global crisis, COVID-19.

Based on the latest country-level data available as of April 7, 2020, World Bank estimated the economic loss of South Asian countries caused by halting of economic activity, collapsing trade, and greater stress in the financial and banking sectors. Following the results, Maldives GDP is most likely to fall by 13.0 to 8.5 percentage in 2020, the heaviest fall by a South Asian country.

"After tackling the immediate COVID-19 threat, South Asian countries must keep their sovereign debt sustainable through fiscal prudence and debt relief initiatives," said Hans Timmer, World Bank Chief Economist for the South Asia Region. "And looking beyond the present crisis, lie great opportunities to expand digital technologies for payment systems and distant learning to unlock remote areas in South Asia."

Other Asian countries including Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also prone to suffer immense economic loss due to the restrictions implemented to prevent further spreading of COVID-19.  The report urges governments to adopt temporary spending measures and coordinate with international financial partners to avoid unsustainable long-term debt levels and fiscal deficits.

The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response, increase disease surveillance, improve public health interventions, and help the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. It is deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. 


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