Focus On: COVID-19 Economic & Social Impacts

A resource for journalists to find stories and sources.

At Asia Research News, we have a strong network of researchers at institutes throughout Asia and beyond. Every couple of months our Focus On series highlights ongoing research and expertise around one theme or topic.

We are working to connect journalists with experts prepared to speak with international media about different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are the experts in economics, including several who can comment on the situation in developing countries; travel, tourism and spread of information. We also have a page for experts in public health and virology. 

Journalists are welcome to contact researchers directly, or reach out to us at [email protected] if you need help finding a source.

ECONOMIC & SOCIAL ISSUES

 

BANGLADESH

Mr Towfiqul Islam Khan

Research Division
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economic impact particularly fiscal policy
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Bangla
We have done one of the first works on economic impact and required public policy response in view of the Coronavirus risks in the context of Bangladesh. I coordinated the work. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020) 

 

HONG KONG

Professor Terence Chong 

Department of Economics
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economic impact on China and the rest of the world
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua

Professor Maggie Hu

School of Hotel and Tourism Management and Department of Finance
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Real Estate Economics and Finance, Banking and Finance
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Putonghua

Professor Kalok Chan

Department of Finance
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Hong Kong and China financial markets
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese

Mr. Simon Lee

School of Accountancy
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economic, Real Estate or Housing, Tourism, Investment, Hong Kong and China Stock Markets
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua

 

INDIA 

Janhavi Dave

International Coordinator
HomeNet South Asia
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economic Empowerment, Informal Economy Women Workers, Home-Based Workers, South Asia, Membership-Based Organisations of Poor
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Hindi

HomeNet South Asia (HNSA) is conducting research of women home-based workers in garment supply chains. While coronavirus has impacted the entire world, women home-based workers are particularly vulnerable and have been significantly affected. HNSA is a network of 60 home-based workers’ organisations, representing 800,000 home-based workers across South Asia. As the International Coordinator of HNSA, I can speak on the impact of coronavirus on the poor women home-based workers in South Asia.
(added March 27, 2020)

Navsharan Singh

Governance and Justice Program, Asia Regional Office, India
International Development Research Centre
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: informal sector workers, vulnerable groups, women, internally displaced people and refugees
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Hindi
I have researched and published extensively on informal sector workers, especially women workers and I understand the their precarity of work and lives. I have also been working on the vulnerability of Internally Displaced People and those affected by mass sectarian violence. COVID-19 impacts these groups very significantly and in very specific ways.
(added March 27, 2020) 

 

JAPAN

Chisato Kitanaka

Harassment Consultation Office
Hiroshima University
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Violence against women including domestic violence and abuse, sexual violence and sexual harassment. Gender issues. Academic misconduct, academic bullying, bullying in workplace.
Languages comfortable speaking: Japanese, English

I am a sociologist studying domestic violence and sexual violence situations and measures in Japan, and am the director of two NGOs, All Japan Women’s Shelter Network and Rape Crisis Center in Hiroshima. As an NGO activist, we, All Japan Women’s Shelter Network, submitted “The Request for the Prevention of DV and Child Abuse under the Condition of Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures” to the Japanese government on March 30. This letter of request drew more attention than we expected, and many newspapers and TV quickly covered the issue. A lot of people have talked about this online. The prime minister and minister of gender equality have since addressed the issue in statements, and the Cabinet has approved emergency funding for expanded consultation services.
(added May 25, 2020) 

MYANMAR

Edgard Rodriguez

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) - Canada
Email: [email protected]ca
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Social science research; think tanks; decentralization; labour markets; Myanmar
Languages comfortable speaking: English
I lead an initiative that supports policy research in Myanmar through dozen projects that work with universities and think tanks. The current COVID-19 crisis is an example of emergency policy response that will have a profound long-term effect on developing societies in Asia, especially on transitional economies such as Myanmar’s.
(added March 30, 2020)

Dr Min Zaw Oo

Executive Director
Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: conflict, security, Myanmar
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Burmese
Dr. Min Zaw Oo is an expert on the peace process in Myanmar. He set up the first joint-ceasefire mechanism and is adviser to the Peace Commission in Myanmar. Prior to returning to Myanmar, Min oversaw election-strengthening activities in Afghanistan and was a consultant to the Genocide Early Warning Project which monitors high-risk countries around the world. Full bio here.
(added April 6, 2020)

 

PAKISTAN

Dr Vaqar Ahmed

Joint Executive Director
Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Pakistan
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economy, trade, social protection
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Urdu, Hindi
A former U.N. Development Programme advisor, he has also undertaken assignments with Asian Development Bank, World Bank Group, and Ministries of Finance, Planning and Commerce in Pakistan. Advised the Government of Pakistan on economics; fiscal and monetary policy; and private sector development. He is the author of Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms published by the Oxford University Press and has also published extensively in numerous areas related to economic policy. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020)

SRI LANKA

Ms Nisha Arunatilake

Director of Research
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: effectiveness of relief responses by government, economic impact
Languages comfortable speaking: English
Ms Nisha Arunatilake has been conducting research on adequacy and coverage of relief responses by governments for some time. She is researching the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the effectiveness of government relief efforts on reaching the most affected. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020)

Mr Kithmina Hewage

Research Economist
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Domestic and international political-economy, private sector development, trade and investment policy, macroeconomic policy
Languages comfortable speaking: English
Kithmina Hewage is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and a national consultant to the International Trade Centre (ITC). His research interests include international political economics, foreign direct investment, international trade policy, and private sector development, with a focus on regulatory reforms. He is a member of government taskforces on domestic economic policy reforms. He has published articles in several international journals and provided commentary for many national and international media outlets. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020)

Ms Sunimalee Madurawala

Research Economist
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Health Economics and Policy, Gender and Population Studies
Languages comfortable speaking: English
Sunimalee has more than ten years of experience researching issues around gender, health economics, education and labour. She co-authored the study: “Liberalising Health Services under SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS): Implications for South Asian Countries”, and more recently wrote the report “Public or Private: Determinants of Choice of Healthcare Providers in Sri Lanka”. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020)

Ms Priyanka Jayawardena

Research Economist
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Email: [email protected] 
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Econometrics and Economic Modeling, Economics of Education, Health, Economics and Policy, Labour & Migration
Languages comfortable speaking: English
She has around 15 years of experience in conducting economic policy-related research on the economics of health, education and labour. She is experienced in quantitative data analysis with applying econometric evaluation techniques -- distributional analysis, quasi-experimental methods, wealth index, equity in opportunity indices. She has authored/co-authored a number of studies on health equity. Member of the Southern Voice network.
(added April 6, 2020)

 

SOUTHEAST ASIA

SHAPE-SEA PROGRAM

Southeast Asia in Crisis: Opinions on the State of Human Rights and Peace in The Time of COVID-19
Email: [email protected]
Launched in February 2015 in Bangkok, SHAPE-SEA is a collaboration between two academic networks based in Southeast Asia: AUN-HRE (30 member universities) and SEAHRN (22 members) with the aim to contribute to the improvement of the human rights and peace situation in ASEAN/ Southeast Asia through applied research and education. (Click to read Op-Eds from researchers)
(added April 8, 2020)

 

TOURISM & TRAVEL

HONG KONG

Professor Lisa Wan

School of Hotel and Tourism Management and Department of Marketing
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Tourism, Consumer Behaviours
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua

Dr. Andrew Yuen

Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Economics, Transport and air transport
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua

Professor Waiman Cheung

Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected]
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Transport, Logistics, Innovation and Technology
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua

 

SPREAD OF INFORMATION

HONG KONG

Dr. Allan Au

School of Journalism and Communication
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Email: [email protected] 
Areas of expertise prepared to comment on: Spread of accurate and inaccurate information
Languages comfortable speaking: English, Cantonese, Putonghua