Europe and Central Asia Economic Update

eca-update-apr-2022-engThe Russian Federation’s war with Ukraine has triggered a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and threatened the stability of geopolitical relations. Economic output in the Europe and Central Asia region is forecast to contract by more than 4.1% in 2022—the second major shock and regional recession in two years. Moreover, the war has added to mounting concerns of a sharp global growth slowdown. The economic impact of the conflict has reverberated through multiple global channels, including commodity and financial markets, trade and migration links, and confidence. Neighboring countries in the Europe and Central Asia region are likely to suffer considerable economic damage because of their strong trade, financial, and migration links with Ukraine and Russia. Pandemic disruptions amid rising COVID-19 cases in some major economies have contributed to financial and commodity market volatility, and could ultimately weigh on global growth prospects. The war has also raised the likelihood of a destabilizing wave of refugees, widespread financial stresses among some emerging and developing economies, a de-anchoring of inflation expectations, and food insecurity. A protracted conflict is likely to heighten policy uncertainty and fragment global trade and investment networks. Policy makers need to ensure that they are better prepared to handle future crises as part of a commitment to a comprehensive approach to bolster resilient, inclusive, and green development. They should fortify their macroeconomic policy buffers and institutions to strengthen stability; promote an inclusive and more equal recovery by strengthening their social protection systems to protect the most vulnerable, including the refugees; and keep their focus on improving energy efficiency and green transition to secure a sustainable future.

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Four paths to respond to the food price crisis

As the devastating war in Ukraine rages on causing untold suffering, its impact is being feltroti_hero far beyond its borders, battering a world emerging from a pandemic that has hit developing countries hardest.  Among the most critical is the food price crisis, calling into question the affordability and availability of wheat and other essential staples.

There is no downplaying the blow that the war has dealt to food systems, already fragile from two years of COVID-19 disruptions, climate extremes, currency devaluations, and worsening fiscal constraints. Because Ukraine and Russia account for over a quarter of the world’s annual wheat sales, the war has led to a significant rise in the price of food , not only wheat but barley, maize, and edible oil among others exported by these two countries. Global and domestic food prices were already close to all-time highs before the war, and a large question mark looms over the next seasons’ harvests worldwide due to the sharp increase in fertilizer prices as well.

“Whether we succeed in managing food price volatility and navigating our way out of this new crisis depends on national policies and global cooperation.”

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Spring Meetings 2022

Conflict, COVID and climate change have combined to create unprecedented challenges for developing countries. At these Spring Meetings – taking place in the shadow of war in Ukraine – the World Bank Group will convene leaders, experts and activists to discuss the impact of these global shocks on the most vulnerable communities.

Spring Meetings Program

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World Bank Group Stands with Ukraine and its People

Prepares to support countries in the region affected by the conflict World Bank building

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2022—David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, today released the following statement: 

“The World Bank Group is horrified by the shocking violence and loss of life as a result of the events unfolding in Ukraine. We are a long-standing partner of Ukraine and stand with its people at this critical moment.

Today, I discussed the situation with our Board of Directors and have mobilized our Global Crisis Risk Platform to accelerate coordination across the World Bank Group.

The devastating developments in Ukraine will have far-reaching economic and social impacts. We are coordinating closely with the IMF to assess these costs.

When I met with President Zelenskyy in Munich on Saturday, I reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s strong support and commitment to the people of Ukraine and the region.

We stand ready to provide immediate support to Ukraine and are preparing options for such support, including fast-disbursing financing. Alongside development partners, the World Bank Group will use all our financing and technical support tools for rapid response.

The World Bank Group is also in active dialogue to support neighboring countries and people that may be affected by this conflict and will make additional resources available.”

Prepares to support countries in the region affected by the conflict 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2022—David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, today released the following statement: 

“The World Bank Group is horrified by the shocking violence and loss of life as a result of the events unfolding in Ukraine. We are a long-standing partner of Ukraine and stand with its people at this critical moment.

Today, I discussed the situation with our Board of Directors and have mobilized our Global Crisis Risk Platform to accelerate coordination across the World Bank Group.

The devastating developments in Ukraine will have far-reaching economic and social impacts. We are coordinating closely with the IMF to assess these costs.

When I met with President Zelenskyy in Munich on Saturday, I reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s strong support and commitment to the people of Ukraine and the region.

We stand ready to provide immediate support to Ukraine and are preparing options for such support, including fast-disbursing financing. Alongside development partners, the World Bank Group will use all our financing and technical support tools for rapid response.

The World Bank Group is also in active dialogue to support neighboring countries and people that may be affected by this conflict and will make additional resources available.”

Raising the bar on preventing gender-based violence

Gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEA-SH), girlsgbvis an unacceptable violation of human values. The impacts of these actions on survivors and victims are devastating and wide-ranging. They undermine their physical and mental health, security, dignity, quality of life and well-being.

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Pandemic Threatens to Push 72 Million More Children into Learning Poverty—World Bank outlines a New Vision to ensure that every child learns, everywhere

WASHINGTON, December 2, 2020 – COVID-related school closures risk pushing an TCard COVID statadditional 72 million primary school aged children into learning poverty—meaning that they are unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10—according to two new World Bank reports released today. The reports outline a new vision for learning and the investments and policies, including on education technology, that countries can implement today to realize this vision.

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Why we need to invest in conflict resolution for better biodiversity outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to increased poverty and inequality, further intensifying the ele_leaderneed to focus on a recovery that is inclusive and sustainable. For local communities suddenly stripped of direct economic benefits from nature, supporting wildlife conservation has become a lot more difficult.  The UN’s Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework is a key step towards the 2050 vision of “Living in harmony with nature,” however, the inconvenient truth is that nature, particularly wildlife, can be very difficult to live with and global solutions do not always easily translate to the local level.

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How is the World Bank tackling COVID-19 in fragile and conflict-affected settings?

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis has caused thousands of deaths and shaken the mali-covidworld’s richest countries to their core. What happens when it makes its way to low-and middle-income countries, which could face destabilizing and lasting shocks from its health and economic impacts? This is especially true for countries impacted by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV), where cases of COVID-19 infection are increasing. Nearly one-third of our total project investments in 100 countries so far have focused on countries impacted by fragility and conflict —from Afghanistan and Iraq to Somalia and Haiti —  to help them face a multi-layered crisis of a magnitude no one has faced before.

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COVID-19 in fragile settings: Ensuring a conflict-sensitive response

Violent conflict often exacerbates the spread of infectious diseases , as seen in the recent resurgence of polio in Syria, cholera outbreaks in the conflict zones in Yemen, and the persistence of Ebola in insecure eastern regions of the Democratic Republicdrc-ebola-2 of Congo (DRC). Between 2009 and 2017, in fact, there were 364 disease outbreaks in 108 refugee camps. Fragility and conflict reverse hard-won development gains and stunt opportunities for children, youth, and the poorest people. In the process, they deeply weaken health systems, leaving societies more vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

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Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A new report estimates that by 2030 up to two-thirds of the global extreme poor will Imagebe living in FCS, making it evident that without intensified action, the global poverty goals will not be met.
  • The new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty” notes that the 43 countries in the world with the highest poverty rates are in FCS and/or Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The number of people living in proximity to conflict — defined as within 60 kilometers of at least 25 conflict-related deaths — has nearly doubled since 2007.

Globally, the prevalence of fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) continues to rise. The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has more than doubled since 2012, exceeding 74 million in 2018. A new report estimates that by 2030 up to two-thirds of the global extreme poor may be living in FCS, making it evident that without intensified action, the global poverty goals will not be met.

The new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty,” notes that the 43 countries in the world with the highest poverty rates are in FCS and/or Sub-Saharan Africa.  Economies facing chronic fragility and conflict have had poverty rates stuck at over 40 percent in the past decade, while countries that have escaped FCS have cut their poverty rates by more than half. Today, a person living in an economy facing chronic fragility and conflict is 10 times more likely to be poor than a person living in a country that hasn’t been in conflict or fragility in the past 20 years.

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