It has been a crisis like no other. To tackle the health
emergency, countries had to bring economic
life to a standstill during the Great Lockdown.
This created the worst recession since the Great
Depression. The IMF acted swiftly to help people
and countries, while enormous uncertainty clouded
the prospects for the global economy and the world
continued to wrestle with the pandemic’s unknowns.
The crisis has upended people’s lives in countless
ways. In addition to the tragic loss of life, millions of
people have lost jobs, income, and savings, and many
worry about how to pay their rent and bills.
The magnitude and speed of the economic collapse
were unprecedented. The crisis undermined global
financial stability, and large segments of the global
economy ground to a standstill, including the informal
economy, which remains large in Latin America and
sub-Saharan Africa. To save lives, governments financed
additional health and emergency services. Where
conditions and room in the budget allowed, governments
also stopped the freefall of global growth with
extraordinary monetary and fiscal support—the latter to
the tune of $11.5 trillion globally as of September 2020—
to extend lifelines to businesses and people.
These exceptional times required equally exceptional,
quick action. The IMF has worked to help protect

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