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Policy in Pandemics
Oxford Policy Management
Podcast by Oxford Policy Management
9 Dec 2021
Policy in Pandemics: Kenya
Join Policy in Pandemics host, Stevan Lee, as he explores the economic impact of Covid-19 in Kenya with economists Wangari Muikia and John Nyangi. As in many countries across the world, stories of hoard-buying, home working and the emergence of a ‘new normal’ characterised the arrival of the pandemic in Kenya. The Government responded quickly with an almost immediate lockdown, triggering a wave of urban-rural migration as the urban services sector felt the impact of the strict containment measures. Despite pivoting towards the domestic market, sectors such as tourism and other services were heavily affected – micro, small and medium enterprises in the informal sector in particular, bore the brunt of reduced trade in cities like Nairobi. Conversely, other important sectors – namely agriculture – were less affected, and their resilience helped to support the economy as a whole at a time when export markets suffered. 80% of agricultural firms remained open and operating compared to around 40% of those firms operating within the tourism sector. Despite enjoying years of relatively strong growth before the pandemic, a shrinking fiscal space caused by a high debt burden left Kenya with limited options for a stimulus package. With little fiscal buffer, a large bailout of the magnitude seen in countries like the UK simply wasn’t possible. Instead, like may other sub-Saharan African countries, the Government has had to rely on multilateral borrowing from the World Bank and IMF to help weather the economic storm caused by Covid. This has left the country walking a difficult balance between providing support to households through tax cuts and cash transfers while still trying to raise revenue for public expenditure – indeed, this year saw the reversal of some tax cuts and the introduction of completely new taxes. What this means in reality is that while estimates for growth and recovery don’t appear too ominous – with forecasts suggesting setbacks equivalent to just a year or two of lost growth – the impact on poverty at the household level is likely to be much more severe and long lasting and is further compounded by pervasive inequality between genders and regions. Kenya’s recovery from Covid will be very much dependent on the ability of policymakers to recognise this inequality and address it to help reverse the effects of poverty which could otherwise worsen livelihoods for years to come.
20 Oct 2021
Policy In Pandemics: Covid in Bangladesh…what the government did - and didn’t do
In the first episode of the new series of our Policy in Pandemics podcast, Acting Chief Economist, Stevan Lee talks to Selim Raihan, Professor of Economics at the University of Dhaka and Executive Director at SANEM, about the economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis in Bangladesh – and the Government’s response.
24 Jun 2020
Policy in Pandemics - we'll be back soon!
Thanks for listening to the first series of Policy in Pandemics. We're taking a short break while we line up the next episodes but will be back in a couple of weeks.
16 Jun 2020
Covid in Africa: A smouldering crisis
Despite an unexpected delay in covid-19 mortality rates, Africa is facing an 'unprecedented policy crisis'. We speak to Kate Dooley, the West Africa Regional Director for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Kate talks about her experience working on Ebola in 2014-15 in Sierra Leone and the differences of covid-19 to Ebola. We discuss what is happening on the ground in Africa, what might be behind the surprisingly low mortality rates, and the impact an economic shock of this size will have on Africa, especially as the rest of the world begins to re-open their economies. Host: Peter Harrington Editor: Emmie Fairbairn Producer: Katherine Valentine
8 Jun 2020
Inspiring transformative growth | Interview with Matt Andrews: Part 2
Can covid-19 bring greater transformation and morality in economic policy making? We conclude our conversation with Matt Andrews examining the longer term impact covid-19 might have on the international development sector. Matt discusses the opportunity for ‘game-changing growth’and his hope that this crisis will accelerate a shift towards countries taking greater ownership over reform, and greater authorship of their own development pathway.
3 Jun 2020
Crisis leadership | Interview with Matt Andrews: Part 1
In the first of a two part conversation we discuss what makes good crisis management, good communication, and leadership in the public interest. We speak to Matt Andrews, head of the Building State Capability Programme at Harvard, and Edward S Mason professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. We explore what some countries have got right, empowering people at all levels of government to lead and take risks – moving from ‘control orientation’ to ‘coordination orientation’ – and the need for mechanisms to enable rapid learning to develop context specific responses. Host: Peter Harrington Editor: Emmie Fairbairn Producer: Katherine Valentine
18 May 2020
COVID-19 in South Africa: “Invest in trusting relationships”
We speak to the Emeritus Head of the Health Department for Western Cape, Beth Engelbrecht, about the COVID-19 response in South Africa. We discuss the challenges of a public health response the context of massive economic inequalities, large vulnerable populations, and the ever present social and economic legacies of Apartheid. Beth provides insights into the benefits of dispersed leadership, and the existing health and social infrastructure that has helped South Africa manage the enormous challenges above. Host: Peter Harrington Editor: Emmie Fairbairn Producer: Katherine Valentine Listen to 'No Pata Pata' in full here: https://youtu.be/8M9O4sPISc0
14 May 2020
COVID-19 in Punjab: Smart lockdown & cultural sensitivities
We discuss the smart lockdown and kick-starting the economy in Punjab with the Chairman of Punjab’s Planning and Development Board, Hamed Yakoob Sheikh. This podcast was recorded on 23 April. As of 12 May, there are 32,081 recorded cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan and 706 deaths. There are 1932 cases in the Punjab province, and 33 confirmed deaths. In the discussion we explore the challenge of tailoring protective measures to context; coordinating between federal and state levels of government; the tricky process of balancing public health with a gradual exit from lockdown and planning for economic recovery; and the need to work with the grain of cultural practices. Host: Peter Harrington Editor: Emmie Fairbairn Producer: Katherine Valentine *Due to constraints caused by the current lockdown, this episode was recorded with limited technology and as such we apologise for any inconsistencies in sound.
4 May 2020
COVID-19 in Albania: agile response, arduous recovery
In our first episode of Policy in Pandemics, we talk to Etjen Xhafaj, who is the Deputy Foreign Minister of Albania, about the crisis so far in Albania and how they have responded, highlighting the successes of Albania's epidemic handling so far despite a number of challenges. The conversation was recorded in the second week of April, but Albania’s epidemiological statistics have not changed significantly. As of May 3 Albania had under 800 cases, 31 deaths and no new deaths recorded.
30 Apr 2020
Policy in Pandemics - Trailer
Welcome to Policy in Pandemics, a new podcast from Oxford Policy Management which will be looking at the current Covid-19 crisis from the perspective of governments, leaders and policy makes around the world. What you can expect from us in the coming weeks? We’re going to be talking to a whole range of different people – people in government who are grappling with the crisis response, people outside government who are affected by it, practitioners, academics, interesting thinkers and doers all over the world – all to give you a unique window into how different places are dealing with COVID-19. We want to grapple with the tough policy questions, and find the amazing stories that are defining this extraordinary time. So welcome to policy in pandemics. We hope you enjoy.