The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities and poor governance practices in the MENA region and had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable people. These persistent and structural issues also threaten a post-COVID inclusive recovery process. Austerity steers from institutions like the IMF risk further inequality and social exclusion, as evidenced by diverse and gendered impacts on the most vulnerable, including through low public spending on health and social protection.
Economic and fiscal justice through progressive taxation and inclusive, crisis-resilient public spending are two key policy solutions to prevent future crises impoverishing the most vulnerable in the region. As the world recovers from the pandemic, now is the time for national and global policymakers – including international financial institutions – to take stock and seek policy alternatives that take a rights-based, inclusive, holistic and resilience-focused approach to recovery efforts, resourced through progressive taxation.
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