COVID-19: Africa’s recovery will need billions of dollars- IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Africa will need hundreds of billions of dollars to deal with the economic fall out of the Coronavirus pandemic on continent’s economy. 

This was announced by IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva and Abebe Aemro Selassie, Chief of African operations in a statement titled “Charting a Path for a Resilient Recovery in Sub Saharan Africa”. 

According to the global lender, Africa needs a recovery that raises resilience to not just save lives but also boost higher standards of living; citing studies that showed expanding internet access in sub-Saharan Africa by 10% of the population could increase real per capita GDP growth by as much as 4% points. 

To achieve this, fiscal and financial policies need to prioritize investing in people, infrastructure, and coping mechanisms,” IMF said. 

The Bank added that investing in healthcare and education can pay large dividends in terms of growth, productivity, gender equity, and living standards, however investing in people are critical for resilience. 

But investing in people is more than just finding better ways to do existing jobs. It is also about carving out new jobs. Better jobs. It is therefore vital to invest in building digital skills,” it added.

The IMF announced in June’s World Economic Outlook  that “projection for sub-Saharan Africa overall is a negative 3.2 % in 2020 with a recovery in 2021 of 3.4%.”  

For infrastructure the IMF added that infrastructure is needed for a resilient economy, however ina scenario where large scale investments are needed, the focus needs to be smart, green and inclusive 

This means moving towards other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. This shift will help reduce carbon emissions, spread electrification, and create jobs.

“In Kenya, the government increased access to electricity from 40 to 70% of the population in large part through the use of small, off-grid, solar-powered energy plants,” it added. 

IMF forecasts that investing in a resilient African future will be more cost-effective than repeated rebuilding after crises or disasters, as it encourages a more resilient route to development in Africa. 

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