ADI webinar regulates macro-economic policies to rejuvenate collapsing economy in Africa

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from PixabayAfrican Development Institute hosted a webinar in Abidjan, called ‘Enhancing Resilience in African Economies: Macro-Economic Policy Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa’

The webinar was attended by more than 350 participants, and was the first in a series of meetings, organised as a part of ADI’s Global Community of Practice (G-CoP) initiatives, with the discussion aimed at facilitating knowledge and policy dialogue, as a response to the pandemic.

Panellists, comprising global leaders, researchers, academics, former finance ministers and central bank governors from different nations, came together to explore potential fiscal, monetary and governance reforms, that can prevent the economy in African countries from collapsing further during this time of crisis.

Some speakers raised the issue of fiscal stimulus packages, as a measure to sustain livelihoods and prevent an upsurge in inequality.

“This is an opportunity to rethink macro-economic policies in Africa. We should not go back to our old ways. The sense of urgency that is coming from this crisis, must translate into initiatives that make our continent less dependent on others. We should aim not only to build back the economy, but make it better,” the delegates concluded.

The panellists urged African leaders to use the urgency amid COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate investments in implementing AfDB’s High 5 plan; bring about regional integration, and create deep local financial markets that can withstand future shocks. It is estimated that Africa will require stimulus worth US$110-$150bn, to provide social and economic relief, in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Some significant observations and suggestions of the webinar include, the need for innovative fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies, that focus on saving the livelihoods of citizens; rescuing thriving private investments, as well as small businesses, protecting jobs and strengthening regional and national institutions.

Panellists proposed that an important step would be to strengthen the infrastructure of health systems across African countries; invest in STEM to equip countries for digital economy, and build capacity of member countries to implement existing policies and continental declarations agreed to in the past.

The seminar highlighted the fact that Africa’s young population is a strong point for Africa’s ability to withstand the pandemic, and urged the continent's leaders to consider lockdown policies based on scientific knowledge, and evidence related to each of the countries. 

To deal with similar endemic diseases in future, the experts also recommended, the creation of an Africa Group of 30, comprising finance ministers and Central Bank governors, with powers to regulate suitable macro-economic policy as a measure to safeguard the economy.

ADI concluded by announcing that it is developing a Public Service Delivery Index (PSDI) to help improve transparency and accountability in public service delivery in Africa. It will soon launch an African Public Finance Management Academy (PFMA), to help countries with prudential public finance management.

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