With well over 870,000 confirmed infections and 40,000 deaths worldwide, COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading new coronavirus, has caused global havoc. Beyond the devastating human toll, this pandemic has caused global supply and demand shocks, economic turmoil, and financial market collapse, with the likely onset of a global recession. Oil prices have plummeted as pandemic-related policies, including global travel restrictions, have decreased demand. Measures to contain the pandemic have hurt key sectors such as tourism and disrupted production, manufacturing, and trade, leading to significant job losses. For the Middle East and North Africaespecially fragile and conflict-ridden countries such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya—the virus has become a major near-term challenge. Before the virus struck, many countries in the region were already facing significant economic and political challenges, including crumbling healthcare systems. Today, there are those that are incapable of providing necessary stimulus packages to their economies.  

In this broader context, what are the prospects for global economic and financial systems in the coming months? What implications will the coronavirus have on the geopolitics and economics of the Middle East and North Africa? Similarly, how are other regions reacting, for instance Latin America? What are the available policy options to address the economic and financial fallout of the pandemic?

The Carnegie Middle East Center held a live online discussion on Wednesday, April 1 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (GMT+3) on the Carnegie Middle East Center’s YouTube page. The event was held in English. Closed captioning in Arabic is also available. 


Washington (ET): 10:30-11:30 a.m.

São Paolo (BST): 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Brussels (CET): 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Beirut, Moscow (EEST): 5:30-6:30 p.m.

New Delhi (IST): 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Beijing (CST): 10:30-11:30 p.m.


Jihad Azour is the director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund.

Amer Bisat is the managing director at Blackrock and a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Moisés Naím is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focuses on international economics and global politics.


Maha Yahya is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.