UNCTAD – Public Banks and COVID-19: Combatting the Pandemic with Public Finance

By May 21, 2021 Publications

COVID-19 has dealt a devastating economic blow around the world. From individuals who can no longer afford to pay for food, to SMEs unable to cover their rent, to national governments struggling with their balance of payments and skyrocketing health expenditures, the economic impacts of COVID-19 have been sweeping in scope and depth.

Although little discussed in the mainstream media, public banks have been on the front lines of dealing with this economic and health crisis, playing a critical role in stemming financial collapse, supporting households and communities, and channeling resources towards essential health and public services. Public banks provide supportive credit, fiscal assistance, expert advice and macro-economic stability in ways that private financial institutions are often unable or unwilling to do.

This book offers detailed case studies of public bank actions from around the world, critically examining their policy responses to COVID-19. It identifies ‘best practices’ in dealing with the current crisis as well as highlighting the changes needed to make public banks more equitable, democratic and sustainable in the future.

An accompanying interactive website with additional public bank profiles can be found at PublicBanksCovid19.org