Colombia’s ‘Timely, Well-Coordinated Response’ to Covid-19 Wins IMF Kudos
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on March 23 issued a detailed economic/social report finding that the Colombian government is responding wisely to the Covid-19 crisis.
“Colombia has been hit hard by the pandemic, but the policy response has been timely and well-coordinated,” according to the IMF official report.
“Covid-19 has taken a severe social and economic toll, including more than 60,000 deaths. Over 5 million jobs were temporarily affected and GDP contracted by 6.8% in 2020, the largest recession on record in Colombia,” IMF adds.
In the face of the economic-social crisis, government authorities “used the flexibility afforded by their very strong policy framework to deliver a coordinated and timely response to the exceptional shock.”
In addition, “emergency measures have supported the health care sector, households and businesses,” the agency added.
“A flexible exchange rate, monetary policy accommodation and liquidity support, temporary suspension of the fiscal [spending] rule and macroprudential measures mitigated the fallout from the pandemic.”
On another positive front, “a national vaccination program to cover most of the population started in February,” the IMF added.
Meanwhile, Colombia is enjoying a “gradual recovery with [GDP] growth expected to rebound to around 5 percent in 2021. Under our assumptions for declining infections, rising vaccinations and limited lockdowns, GDP is projected to recover gradually this year, although it is not projected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2022,” the agency stated.
“Labor markets have partly rebounded with unemployment declining from its peak, although local lockdowns have recently dampened employment gains. Both external and domestic risks to growth remain tilted to the downside.
“External financing needs are expected to remain elevated. However, as non-oil FDI [foreign direct investment] recovers and public borrowing needs decline, the share of private capital flows in external financing is expected to increase.
“Finally, Colombia’s unwavering efforts to integrate Venezuelan migrants into the economy, most recently by granting them Temporary Protective Status, should raise Colombia’s potential growth in the medium term,” the agency concludes.