Covid-19 Pandemic in Middle East and Central Asia




24 Mar 2020


Washington, DC, United States



Covid-19 Pandemic in Middle East and Central Asia
Washington, DC – Recent
1. B-ROLL: Exterior IMF

Washington, DC --- 24 March, 2020
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF

“Let me start by expressing my deep sympathy with the people of the region and support for the governments coping with the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of Covid-19 and the drop of oil prices in the Middle East and Central Asia has been substantial and could intensify. This challenge will be especially daunting for the region's fragile and conflict-torn states such as Iraq, Sudan and Yemen with weak health systems.

3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jihad Azour, Director of ME and CA at IMF

“The pandemic is causing significant economic turmoil in the region through simultaneous shocks, the drop in domestic and external demand, disruption of production, and tightening of financial conditions. The region's oil exporters face the additional shock of plummeted oil prices as they have fallen by over 50 percent since the start of the crisis.”

4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jihad Azour, Director of ME and CA at IMF

“What should countries do now? The immediate policy priority of the region is to protect the population from the coronavirus. Governments should not spare any expense to ensure that health systems and social safety nets are adequately prepared to meet the needs of their populations. Economic policy responses should be directed at avoiding economic recession with lasting welfare losses to the society. “

5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jihad Azour, Director of ME and CA at IMF

“How is the IMF helping? Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have engaged with governments to offer advice and assistance, especially to those in urgent need of financing. The fund has adequate tools to help our members surmount the crisis and limit its human economic costs. Several countries from the region have already approached the IMF for financial support. Now, more than ever, international cooperation is vital if we hope to prevent lasting economic scars.”

Washington, DC – Recent
6. B-ROLL: Exterior IMF
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