Director General of SESRIC, H.E. Mr. Nebil DABUR Addressed the 3rd Meeting of the OIC-COMCEC Central Banks Forum as Lead Speaker
Date: 29 September 2021
Venue: Virtual-SESRIC, Ankara - Türkiye

In its capacity as the Secretariat of the OIC-COMCEC Central Banks Forum, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey organised the 3rd Meeting of the Forum virtually on 29 September 2021 under the theme of “Post-Pandemic Economic and Financial Priorities for OIC Countries”. The meeting brought together Governors of the Central Banks and high-level policy makers from OIC member countries to discuss the current global and OIC economic outlook and to exchange views on the post-pandemic economic and financial priorities for OIC Countries within the framework of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) financial cooperation agenda.

H.E. Mr. Nebil DABUR, Director General of SESRIC, addressed this august gathering as a lead speaker and shared with the participants an overview of the economic and financial outlook of OIC countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly with highlights from the forthcoming research report of the Centre titled “OIC Economic Outlook 2021”. Focusing on the economic impacts of COVID-19 worldwide, Mr. DABUR started by stating that the world real GDP was expected to grow by 3.4% in 2020, according to the forecast made before the pandemic. However, it is now estimated to have contracted by 3.2%, he added. He noted that this contraction is smaller than the pessimistic projections made earlier that year, indicating that growth rates improved for many regions in the second half of 2020 thanks to eased lockdowns and strong policy responses as well as more adaptation to new ways of working. Referring to the latest estimates of the IMF, Mr. DABUR underlined that the global economy, after the contraction in 2020, is projected to grow at 6% in 2021, moderating to 4.9% in 2022. Additional fiscal supports, the anticipated speeding and widening of vaccination coverage, and the continued adaptation of all sectors of the economy to pandemic life are expected to contribute to the recovery process, he added.

Concerning the state of affairs in OIC member countries, Mr. DABUR stressed that the economic contraction in OIC countries in 2020 was moderate as compared to the global averages. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, economic growth in OIC countries was projected at 3.7% in 2020, but under the pandemic conditions, it actually contracted by 1.6%, he underlined. In parallel with the global recovery, Mr. DABUR mentioned that economic activity in OIC countries is expected to recover in the next two years with a growth rate of 4.3% in 2021 and 4.5% in 2022, which is around the past ten-year average. Referring to the impact of COVID-19 in employment in the OIC countries, Mr. DABUR noted that over 4 million people across the OIC countries were pushed into unemployment in 2020, raising the total number of unemployed people to 49.3 million, according to the estimates. As a result, the unemployment rate in OIC countries climbed up from 6.4% in 2019 to 7.1% in 2020; and projections indicate a further rise in the unemployment rate to 7.2% in 2021 before easing to 6.7% in 2022, he added.

While commenting on the national policy responses to COVID-19, Mr. Nebil DABUR drew the attention of the august forum about rising concerns over the uneven recovery and divergence among countries in the post pandemic recovery period, which, he believed, should be taken into consideration in the formulation of recovery policies. In the same direction, he observed that several international organizations, such as the IMF, the UN, the World Bank, and the OECD, who all expect a strong recovery after 2020, share and highlight this common concern. This state of affairs is mostly linked to wide differences in the pace of vaccination, the extent of economic policy support, and structural factors such as reliance on tourism and trade, he added. Additionally, Mr. Nebil DABUR noted the emergence of more infectious strains of the virus, such as the Delta variant, is threatening the outlook for recovery across the world.

In his conclusion, he stressed that recovery efforts must be guided by the objective of preventing a growing cross-country divergence in economic development. Thus, transparency, communication, and stronger international coordination and cooperation are critical for more balanced and inclusive growth during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, he finally added.

The 3rd Meeting of the OIC-COMCEC Central Banks Forum was concluded with the adoption of an official Communique.