There is nothing equal about COVID-19. It is now well established that poor and underprivileged social groups have absorbed most of the pandemic’s negative impact. However, the connection between COVID-19 and inequality might run even deeper. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, one additional point of the Gini coefficient correlated with a 1.34 percentage point higher rate of weekly new infections across countries. This difference in infection rates compounds like interest every week.
2021, we all hope, will be the year of recovery. If COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out at scale, including in the developing world, global economic recovery will be large. But that in itself ensures neither that all countries will be included in the recovery, nor that all people within each country will see the gains. A rising tide, as we have seen only too well since US president John F. Kennedy first used the phrase in 1963, does not lift all boats.
This policy paper outlines a series of opportunities and challenges for constructive partnership among the IFIs and the UN in fragile states. This paper applies these lessons to the specific issue of fuel subsidy reform, a policy option under consideration to manage mounting fiscal pressure in countries as diverse as Sudan and Lebanon. Relatively low international fuel prices present an opportunity, while at the same time, struggling households and fuel-dependent industries hit hard by the pandemic seek increased government support.
Nearly two years after the Islamic State’s (IS) fighting forces were dislodged from their final hideout in Baghouz, Syria, the northeast (NE) region remains highly insecure. Numerous state actors with a stake in the future of Syria either maintain a troop presence in the NE or are providing financial and logistical support to proxies or other non-state actors. The resulting conflicts paint a worrying picture for the future of the NE and its residents.
Conflict and insecurity continued to plague populations in the eastern Congo in 2020. Amidst a global pandemic draining humanitarian funding – only 34% of requested annual aid had reached the Congo in 2020 – conflict continues to simmer, with a record high of 5.5 million displaced across the country. Recent Kivu Security Tracker data also indicates a steep rise in killings, violent deaths and other forms of violence since the end of 2019, compared to previous years.