Tracking the COVID-19 Recovery: Interactive Data Roundup

By: Paula Torrez-Ortiz

The Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI) within the Boston University Global Development Policy Center works to advance policy-relevant research on international financial, trade and development institutions that play a leading role in global economic governance. As part of this work, the GEGI research team has released four interactive research projects that serve as sources of vital public information for policymakers, reporters, researchers, civil society, students and others to explore and draw insights.

The four interactives were all created and released in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; each seeks to provide transparent and accessible information to monitor, track and aid the global economic recovery effort. The interactives are updated annually with information and analysis regarding economic ramifications, implications and current policy shortcomings. As a resource, the interactives and their attendant research papers can help inform measures and pathways for stronger, effective pandemic recovery strategies.

These interactives are open knowledge products and the GEGI team welcomes additions and corrections; please get in touch at

See a summary and links to each of the four interactives below:

Global Financial Safety Net Tracker

The Global Financial Safety Net Tracker, comprised of two components, allows users to explore and track the global financial agreements and short-term crisis finance that make up the global financial safety net (GFSN). The first component, the COVID-19 Global Financial Safety Net Tracker 2020, displays the total amount of loan financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), regional financial arrangements (RFAs) and currency swaps used to combat the COVID-19 crisis. Country specific data, approved loan amounts, RFA membership and country income group information are available for highlighted countries within the interactive. The COVID-19 tracking source is the first of its kind that regularly updates overviews of all RFA loans and central bank currency swaps disbursed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The second component is the GFSN Annual Lending Capacity, where countries are color-coded based on the lending capacity available to them through the IMF, RFAs or central bank currency swaps.

According to estimates compiled by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center and the Latin American Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, the financing available from GFSN has reached about $3.5 trillion, compared to the IMF’s $1 trillion lending capacity. However, distribution and availability of these emergency funds has been highly uneven and unequal. According to the researchers, there is an urgent need to coordinate the different elements of the GFSN to improve country access to vital fiscal resources. Explore the interactive and read the policy brief.

China, Debt, Climate and Nature: Opportunities for Financial Stability

As the world’s largest bilateral creditor, China has the capacity to consider a variety of green and sustainable debt relief alternatives for low-and middle-income countries facing high debt exposure from Chinese loans. In the China Debt for Nature interactive, 41 countries have been assessed according to their potential for “debt-for-climate” and “debt-for-nature” swaps and overall implementation success. The interactive creates maps and scatterplots based on financial, environmental and opportunity data from the analysis to depict how the relationships between different variables can be used to prioritize countries for green debt relief strategies. Variable descriptions are included, as well as original data sources for personal investigations and projects.

According to the researchers, Chinese debt swaps would pave a way forward for green recovery and global financial stability, mitigating environmental threats, while allowing debt-stressed countries to repay debts and promote stronger recovery from COVID-19. Smaller countries would benefit the most from debt-for-nature swaps, while other countries could benefit from prioritizing specific climate threats for debt swaps. Explore the interactive and read the journal article.

IMF COVID-19 Recovery Index

Since March 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved $88 billion for programs in over 80 countries, emphasizing support for public health, protecting vulnerable people and a green recovery. The IMF COVID-19 Recovery Index assesses this global economic recovery process, calculating a composite score for each IMF country program, or borrowing country, based on three equally weighted scores in the aforementioned areas.

While many IMF programs are encouraging emergency measures for public health and protection of vulnerable people, efforts in green recovery have so far been limited. For example, the Index shows that IMF COVID-19 response programs for 54 countries do not address climate change, or green recovery efforts at all. These impacts of these shortcomings will reverberate throughout national and international recovery efforts for decades to come. Explore the interactive and read the journal article.

IMF COVID-19 Surveillance Monitor

The IMF COVID-19 Surveillance Monitor measures the extent of the IMF’s attention to health outcomes, support for vulnerable people and firms and climate change before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This interactive tracks and displays the frequency of topic mentions of these issue areas in IMF in-country assessments, known as Article IV consultations.

Previously, the IMF gave relatively little attention to health, support for the vulnerable and climate change in its surveillance work. However, Article IV consultations during COVID-19 shifted significantly and increased attention towards supporting public health and vulnerable people, but attention to climate change has remained minimal. As countries work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers argue a regular review of IMF surveillance guidelines will aid ongoing efforts to examine the IMF’s measures and advice for better post-COVID-19 outcomes. Explore the interactive and read the working paper.