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Dubai: The deadly novel coronavirus outbreak in China could slacken the both the country’s and the world’s economic growth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s managing director warned in Dubai on Sunday.
Kristalina Georgieva, speaking during the official opening of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD), said: “China today has a much bigger share [19 per cent] of the global economy than during the SARS epidemic [eight per cent]. So if things go bad for China, this is not good news for the rest of the world. But they [China] are working very hard to contain the epidemic.”
She was responding to a question from moderator John Defterios, Business Emerging Markets Editor, CNN, on her view regarding the impact of the virus (officially now called COVID-19) on the global economy “because of what China is going through right now”.
Georgieva replied: “For now, 3.3 per cent is our forecast [for global economic growth]. There may be a cut of 0.1 to 0.2 per cent. But again, I wish I had the ability to look into a crystal ball. This is a particular case where I advise everybody not to jump to premature conclusions. There is still a great deal of uncertainly. We operate with scenarios [of the virus’s impact] not yet within projections.”
She said the fallout is already “affecting” some “global value chains… it is affecting tourism; it is affecting travel. What we also know is that if it is contained rapidly, there can be a sharp drop and then a very graphic rebound, what is known as a V-cure. And we are very much hoping this is going to be the case”.
Georgieva also pointed out “it is too early to say” what impact the virus will have, stressing that China “has been slowing down naturally, transiting from what we can call high-speed to high-quality growth…”
The official opening was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council; Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future; senior officials, dignitaries and thousands of international delegates.
Also attending were Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; and Obaid Bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
During the event, the keynote address was made by Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US president. She was preceded by David Malpass, World Bank Group President; and a welcome note by Mona Al Marri, chairperson of the board and managing director of Dubai Women Establishment, which organised GWFD.
Ivanka thanked Shaikh Mohammad for his “commitment to advancing women’s economic participation across Dubai and the broader United Arab Emirates”. She commended Emirati leaders for “removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognises that women are central to sustainable growth”.
Malpass said “increasing female labour-force participation to the levels of men could boost regional GDP by 47 per cent. Currently, $575 billion in regional income is lost because of gender-based discrimination in laws, social norms and practices that constrain women’s rights and opportunities”.
In her welcome note, Al Marri said: “The UAE’s experience in accelerating women’s participation in the society and economy serves as an inspirational reference for countries seeking to transform the environment for women.”
The two-day GWFD’s second edition is being held under the theme ‘The Power of Influence’ at Madinat Jumeriah. Over 100 leaders and experts from across the world have come together to engage in constructive dialogue on the advancement of women. Some 3,000 delegates from almost 90 countries are expected to attend over 60 workshops and sessions.
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