Latin America and Caribbean is the region hardest hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic, casting a spotlight on the need to protect the population while putting economies back on track. This will require a combination of public health measures and economic management, according to “Semiannual Report of Latin America and the Caribbean Region: The Cost of Staying Healthy”, a new World Bank Report.
The economies of the region are suffering from lower foreign demand, increased economic uncertainty, a collapse of tourism and the consequences of months under lockdown to try to contain the spread of the disease. With the pandemic expected to continue for an extended period, health care systems should consider reforms to improve effectiveness and reduce the costs borne by governments and individuals, according to The Cost of Staying Healthy. In addition, governments will need to find paths back to fiscal consolidation after this necessary period of high spending on economic stimulus and emergency social transfers, according to the report.
Because of the pandemic, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Latin America and Caribbean region (excluding Venezuela) is expected to decline 7.9% in 2020. A return to growth of 4.0% is expected in 2021.
At this morning seminar, Martin Rama, Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, presented the report’s main findings.
8am-9am, Friday October 30, 2020 (Japan Standard Time)
Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank
Martín Rama is the World Bank Chief Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.
Rama’s top priorities are to provide intellectual leadership on development issues facing LAC, to promote high-quality analytical work about the region, and to advisce the regional management team on development issues.
From 2013 to 2018, Rama was the Chief Economist for the South Asia region of the World Bank, based in Delhi, India.
Until October 2012 Rama was the Director of the World Development Report (WDR) 2013, on Jobs. The WDR is the annual flagship report of the World Bank, and an important publication in the area of development economics. The Jobs report built on new research, in-depth case studies and extensive consultations. It led to the compilation of a massive new database of labor indicators across countries.
Over the previous eight years, until 2010, Rama was the Lead Economist for Vietnam, based in Hanoi. In this capacity, he oversaw the World Bank program in the country in areas related to economic policy and poverty reduction. He was also the focal person in the policy dialogue with government in relation to economic reforms, and led a series of annual policy lending operations co-financed by a dozen donors. Between 2007 and 2009, he also served as the acting Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam.
Prior to moving to World Bank operations, Rama spent ten years with the research department of the World Bank, mainly in Washington DC, while providing support to a large number of developing countries. The main focus of his work was on labor issues. He co-managed a large research program on the impact of labor market policies and institutions on economic performance. He was also responsible for a research initiative on public sector downsizing. His research activities led to numerous publications in academic journals.
Rama gained his Ph.D. in macroeconomics in France in 1985. Back to his home country, Uruguay, he worked in CINVE, the country’s largest think tank, and became one of its directors. In parallel with his World Bank duties, he was visiting professor in development economics at the University of Paris until 2005.
Presentation material: Semiannual Report Latin America and the Caribbean Region Fall 2020: The Cost of Staying Healthy (PDF)