By WPO Board Chair Margery Kraus, Diplomatic Courier
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, nations are scrambling to protect their population and industries from the potentially devastating socioeconomic effects of the virus. Governments are increasingly restricting travel—domestic and international—to reduce contagion. According to Pew Research Center, more than 90 percent of the world’s population now lives in countries that restrict certain people arriving from other countries.
Many governments and international organizations are also hastily deploying stimulus packages to aid citizens and companies ravaged by the sudden, drastic changes in financial and economic outlook. The World Bank and the IFC approved a $14 billion package to fast track financing to sustain economies and protect jobs. The United States recently passed a $2 trillion relief package—it’s largest in history—and the European Central Bank announced €750 billion in relief focused on flexible asset purchases meant to shore up the Euro. China is also working on an effort valued at $183 billion to jumpstarts its economy emerging from the crisis.
Despite these measures, markets continue to reel from the downturn rippling across the world, fueled by fears of uncertainties and grim forecasts, plunging the global economy into what International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva recently called a “recession.” With so much for each government to address domestically, the notion of nations working together to fight this pandemic may seem like a far-fetched fantasy.
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