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.
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.
Sub-Saharan Africa is contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.
Requests for Purchasing under the RapidFinancing Instrument, Debt Relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, Rephasing of Access Under the Three-Year Arrangements under the Extended CreditFacility and the Extended Fund Facility, and Reduction of Access under the Extended Fund Facility Arrangement-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
This paper focuses on The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Requests for Purchasing Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), Debt Relief Under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, Rephasing of Access Under the Three-Year Arrangements Under the Extended Credit Facility and the Extended Fund Facility, and Reduction of Access Under the Extended Fund Facility Arrangement. Ethiopia is facing a pronounced economic slowdown and an urgent balance of payments need owing to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The authorities have taken strong actions to contain the health impact by implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers entering the country, improving testing and containment capacity, strengthening epidemic response coordination and adopting a state of emergency to limit movement and gatherings and facilitate social distancing. Ethiopia showed good progress under the extended arrangements with the IMF, which aim to address external vulnerabilities and transition to a private sector-led growth model. The authorities remain committed to the reform program. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ plan to accommodate COVID-related fiscal measures, and to resume the fiscal adjustment when the crisis subsides. In order to contain the upward pressure on public debt, the authorities should consider further tightening the spending envelope for state-owned enterprises not directly engaged in the COVID-19 emergency response.
The paper evaluates the impact of HIV/AIDS on welfare in several countries affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unlike studies focusing on the impact of HIV/AIDS on GDP per capita, we evaluate the impact of increased mortality using estimates of the value of statistical life. Our results illustrate the catastrophic impact of HIV/AIDS in the worst-affected countries and suggest that studies focusing on GDP and income per capita capture only a very small proportion of the welfare impact of HIV/AIDS.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper is the sixth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income countries (LICs). LICs are defined in this report as the countries eligible to PRGT facilities (69 countries). The first section of the paper discusses recent macroeconomic developments and trends across LICs. The second section estimates LICs’ financing needs up to 2025 to resume and accelerate their income convergence with advanced economies (AEs). It does this by estimating the additional financing that would enable LICs to step up spending response to COVID, including vaccination needs, while rebuilding or keeping external buffers to enhance resilience, and then the paper considers the financing needed to allow LICs to accelerate convergence with AEs. The paper then discusses a mix of financing options, including concessional financing from the international financial institutions, grants and loans from bilateral donors, private financing and debt operations, but also domestic reforms within LICs themselves as a key component to foster growth, enhance private investment, raise public revenues, and increase efficiency of spending.