Tracking the real-time effects of COVID-19 on savings and lending in Rwanda

Project Active from to State Effectiveness, State and COVID-19

A growing and extensive literature has been tracking the economic effects of COVID-19 using real-time data coming mostly from private sector providers, looking mostly at mobility measures, labour market dynamics and consumption patterns (Chen et al. 2020; Chetty et al. 2020). However, this literature mostly focuses on the US and Europe, with much less available about the unfolding of the crisis in emerging and developing countries, both because of lack of macroeconomic data and of alternative private sector data.

Survey data on Rwanda show that the economic impact on individuals has been significant, with sizable reduction in hours worked and earnings and a large drop in consumption. However, much less is known about the financial situation of households and corporations. There is scope to explore the granular, complete and timely information in the data warehouse maintained by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), which contains monthly data on all transactions on the universe of bank accounts to track the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on households’ financial accounts.

The project will inform policymakers about the response of the economy to changes in the stringency of the mitigation measures put in place by the government.