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Coronavirus - Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cautious Reopening

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to represent unprecedented health and economic crisis, with costs that will be felt most keenly by the poorest segments of the world’s population, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This is a fast-moving crisis” said Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department. “And recent developments suggest that the downturn will be significantly larger than we had anticipated only 10 weeks ago.  Africa Cryptocurrency News The risks we highlighted in April all continue to be a concern, but the deterioration of the global outlook has been particularly striking. In line with this new outlook, and consistent with local high-frequency indicators, output in Sub-Saharan Africa is now projected to shrink by 3.2 percent this year, more than double the contraction we had outlined in April. Again, this is set to be the worst outcome on record.


“On the pandemic, the growth rate of new cases has slowed slightly since April, and a number of countries have cautiously eased some of their containment measures. But regionwide, the pandemic is still in its exponential phase—Sub-Saharan Africa has recently exceeded more than a quarter of a million confirmed cases, and new cases are still doubling every 2-3 weeks. Africa Stock Market Given the region’s already-stretched healthcare capacity, the immediate priority is still to protect lives and to do whatever it takes to strengthen local health systems and contain the outbreak.
“Also, authorities in sub-Saharan Africa face a distinct challenge in getting support to those who need it most. Around ninety percent of non-agricultural employment is in the informal sector, where participants are usually not covered by the social safety net. Moreover, a large proportion of this activity centers on the provision of services, which have been particularly hard hit by the crisis. Further, informal workers typically have few savings and limited access to finance. So staying at home is often not an option; complicating the authorities’ efforts to maintain an effective lockdown. In response, many authorities have done what they can to temporarily expand their safety nets; using home-grown, often innovative Africa Political News approaches to ensure that transfers reach as much of their population as possible. But again, resources are limited, and these efforts cannot hope to offset the full impact of this crisis.
“In sum, many authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa face a particularly stark set of near-term policy choices; concerning not only the scale of support they can afford, but also the pace at which they can reopen their economies.”
Against this backdrop, Mr. Selassie pointed to a number of policy priorities going forward.
“First and foremost, the immediate priority remains the preservation of health and lives. But as the region starts to recover, authorities should gradually shift from broad fiscal support to more affordable, targeted policies; concentrating in particular on the poorest households and those sectors hit hardest by the crisis.
Source - https://www.africanews.com/2020/06/29/coronavirus-sub-saharan-africa-a-cautious-reopening/

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