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COVID-19 has shocked millions of Africans into poverty-IMF

Washington, DC – April 4, 2021: Chairman of the African Caucus, Minister Domitien Ndihokubwayo and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Kristalina Georgieva say Africa remains gripped by the COVID-19 health emergency which has triggered its worst economic shock in decades and has seen millions of people fall into poverty.

Following a meeting of the African Consultative Group at the IMF Headquarters on Thursday, Both Georgieva and Ndihokubwayo who co chaired the meeting, issued the following statement after the conclusion of the Group’s meeting in Washington D.C.: 

“We had very productive discussions on Africa’s challenges and prospects for recovery. North Africa is expected to grow faster driven by an upward trend in oil exporters and earlier inoculators. Sub-Saharan Africa’s recovery is expected to be much slower. The legacy of the crisis is likely long lasting, with per capita incomes in many countries not expected to return to pre-crisis levels before 2025.

“Safely exiting the crisis and returning Africa to its pre-crisis convergence path requires carefully-calibrated domestic policies and stronger support from the international community. 

“The key priority remains to significantly scale up vaccine production capacity and accelerate vaccine rollout, including by adequately funding COVAX to provide expedited vaccine coverage to exceed the original goal of covering 20 percent of the population by end-2020. It is also essential to prioritize policies to help protect livelihoods and vulnerable groups, and address education gaps that have deepened due to school closures through appropriately calibrated and targeted fiscal and liquidity support. 

“Transformative policies would strengthen Africa’s recovery and facilitate its transition to a more resilient, green and inclusive growth path. Credible and well-calibrated medium-term fiscal frameworks can contribute to rebuilding fiscal space and addressing debt vulnerabilities. This will require boosting domestic revenue mobilization, improving the efficiency of spending including through stronger governance and public finance management systems. 

“Enhancing human capital and strengthening the business climate would spur productivity and attract private investment. So would advancing trade and integration through implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Boosting investment in digital technologies and climate resilient infrastructure will also be key to create jobs for Africa’s young and growing workforce.”

“Minister Ndihokubwayo highlighted that substantial additional financing would be required in order for Africa to meet its key development objectives. He called upon the international community to step up its support to Africa so that the continent can navigate the pandemic and unleash its vast potential, including its reservoir of young talent.

“Ms. Georgieva noted the Fund’s efforts to help African countries over the past year, including rapid and substantial financial assistance, and reiterated that “the IMF is firmly committed to supporting the authorities’ steps towards ending the crisis and returning to a desirable development path.”

The African Consultative Group comprises the Fund Governors of a subset of 12 African countries belonging to the African Caucus (African finance ministers and central bank governors) and Fund management. It was formed in 2007 to enhance the IMF’s policy dialogue with the African Caucus. The Group meets at the time of the Spring Meetings, while Fund Management meets with the full membership of the African Caucus at the time of the Annual Meetings.

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Last modified onSunday, 04 April 2021 13:10
  • Countries: Africa