Financial Inclusion: A New Multi-dimensional Index and Determinants – Evidence from the Union for the Mediterranean Countries

Rym Ayadi, Dorra Mezzez Hmaied, Rania Makni, Olfa Benouda Sioud, Soumaya Ben Khelifa

This paper proposes a new multi-dimensional financial inclusion index based on a two-stage Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and aggregating indicators of availability, access and use. The paper first assesses the cross-country variations in the index and analyses trends over time for a sample of countries members of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) from 2010-18. Second, it investigates factors that could explain the level of financial inclusion across countries.

Our financial inclusion index shows a downward trend for the full sample over the period under investigation, however when splitting the sample by income group, it appears that high and middle income countries did not register the same trend. When examining the determinants of financial inclusion for UfM countries, we find that macroeconomic, social and governance factors, as well as banking conditions, matter.

A COVID-19 Severity Index

Moubarack Lô, Amaye Sy

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) qualified the Covid-19 virus, which originated in China in December 2019, as a pandemic, since on that date it had circulated across all continents and to the vast majority of countries worldwide.

Since January 2020, some countries have experienced a favourable trend (concomitantly recording a slowdown in new infections, a continuous increase in recoveries and a decrease in deaths linked to the disease), whilst others are still struggling to control the propagation of the virus and its negative consequences on the lives of the sick.

It seemed necessary to us, therefore, to build a synthetic index, which summarises the respective performances of countries in their strategy for fighting the virus. This index will make it possible at any time, to instantly estimate the severity of the pandemic in different countries. The index is calculated on a weekly frequency for 169 countries.

As of 10 May 2020, the average score for the countries in the sample is 0.74, corresponding to a globally moderate severity. Europe has an average score of 0.77 and has seen a significant decrease in severity in recent weeks. For Africa, the scores are between 0.99 and 0.30, with an average of 0.70. In America, scores range from a low of 0.34 to 0.98, with an average of 0.69, the highest level of severity in the world. Asia averages a score of 0.74. Oceania performs the best, with an average score of 0.98.

The SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Management: The Case of Morocco

Salim Bounou, Gmira Maha, Slighoua Mounia, Benmoussa Othmane

The resilience of States is put to a severe test in times of major crises, particularly in the face of a pandemic which places a drastic strain on economic activities, disrupts the lifestyles of citizens, weakens social systems and puts pressure on sanitation structures, to mention just a few directly negative effects. So, therefore, what is the best approach to adopt in such a scenario?

In the first part of this paper we attempt to underline the epidemiological fundamentals of SARS-CoV-2 before proposing a general model to be applied to the Moroccan case that, whilst highlighting the confinement policy measure adopted by Morocco, temporally and dynamically outlines the spread of COVID-19 through multiple simulations.

In the second part, after the first part has covered the hallmarks of the coronavirus in terms of the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the paper tackles the additional contribution of technology, alongside other measures being used (diagnosis, confinement etc), to curb the pandemic.

Several approaches , notably based on Bluetooth and GPS geolocation, are emphasised, e.g. contact tracing or proximity tracing with the aim of protecting the population on a voluntary basis, whilst guaranteeing relative or complete anonymity. This naturally leads us to the third part of the paper where we deal with social acceptability, the ratchet effect, and ethics as the underlying conditions for the use of personal data.

In short, the structured nature of this article offers original thinking on the capability of coping with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic under a multi-disciplinary prism, avoiding the usual segmented thinking model, where only one component is processed at a time, ignoring the links between different levels and perceptions, thereby reducing the chances of solving any given problem in its entirety, regardless of its complexity.

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