The intrinsic links between climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated global calls for policymakers to take immediate action on both fronts. Fiscal stimulus supporting recovery from the pandemic can be designed to simultaneously address climate change. In turn, this could help reduce the spread of future pandemics as climate change is a threat multiplier for pandemics. Destruction of the environment and biodiversity makes pandemics more likely while pollution and other man-made factors driving climate change weaken the health of human beings, raising their vulnerability to viruses and other diseases.
Every second, the region has averaged 106 new internet users.1 This fast-paced digital revolution holds the promise of transforming economies and people’s lives. It takes on added importance as countries across the region grapple with the unprecedented health and socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. All policy levers are being deployed to protect lives and livelihoods. Digital solutions have helped to provide more resilience and allowed for rapid, flexible, and inclusive policy responses to the pandemic.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis. One that threatens to throw the region off its stride, reversing the encouraging development progress of recent years. Furthermore, by exacting a heavy human toll, upending livelihoods, and damaging business and government balance sheets, the crisis threatens to slow the region’s growth prospects in the years to come. Previous crises tended to affect countries in the region differentially, but no country will be spared this time.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines the sustainability of the public finances in Eritrea. The paper analyzes monetary policy and management. It points out that the period since gaining independence in 1993 has not been long enough for the authorities in Eritrea to gain a full understanding of the functioning of the economy and develop the necessary skills and expertise to successfully implement the complex mix of economic, financial, and development policies needed to strengthen growth and reduce poverty. The paper also analyzes the determinants of inflation in Eritrea.
This Selected Issues paper reviews the extent to which growth in Ethiopia has translated into higher living standards. A key feature of the economic strategy has been an explicit commitment to poverty reduction and structural transformation. This is underpinned by the vision of a “developmental state,” whereby a proactive public sector leads the development process and the private sector is oriented to support the development goals. The paper also identifies key bottlenecks hindering further broadening of growth across key sectors to reduce poverty, and highlights the main areas for policy action.
This strategic paper discusses Ethiopia’s growth and transformation plan (GTP) for the periods 2010/2011 and 2014/2015. The Ethiopian government’s main development agenda has been poverty eradication. The government has designed, and is implementing, strategies, policies, and plans to guide and manage the overall development of the country accordingly. The GTP envisages that, besides maintaining a fast-growing economy, better results will be realized in all sectors. Implementation of the GTP requires mobilization of financial and human resources, especially for infrastructure development.
Following a participatory process involving all development players, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) on Djibouti sets goals for poverty reduction and improvement of inhabitants’ living conditions. Analysis of the results of the first three years of implementation of the PRSP reveals a number of significant achievements but shows that chronic weaknesses are still undermining the country’s development efforts. These results were achieved through implementation of priority measures in the social sectors and in the areas of growth support and preservation of macroeconomic stability.
Despite substantial debt relief to HIPC Initiative completion point countries, long-term debt sustainability remains a challenge. This paper examines a number of structural factors affecting external debt sustainability. It shows that in HIPC completion point countries (i) the export base broadly remains narrow; (ii) fiscal revenue mobilization lags behind in some countries; and (iii) policy and institutional frameworks are still relatively weak. Achieving and maintaining longterm debt sustainability in completion point countries will require continued structural reforms, timely donor support, and close monitoring of new non-concessional borrowing.