Well-designed tax policy reforms are key to successful post-Covid fiscal consolidation in Africa

African countries could consider several temporary, progressive tax reforms that have significant revenue potential whilst minimising short-term negative economic impacts, including wealth taxes, temporary increases in the top rates of personal income tax, and higher taxation of businesses and sectors that fared well during the pandemic. Continue reading Well-designed tax policy reforms are key to successful post-Covid fiscal consolidation in Africa

Africa must be at the heart of COP26

By Dr Penny Byrne, Climate Research Analyst at Standard Bank & Simon Freemantle, Senior Political Economist at Standard Bank

The COP26 summit presents a vital opportunity for global leaders, particularly those representing developed economies, to place Africa’s unique and pressing needs and demands at the centre of a more equitable framework for future climate mitigation and adaptation. The reason for Africa’s centrality in these discussions is simple: though its contribution to climate change has been negligible (in all, Africa contributed just 4% of total emissions in 2019 despite being home to over 17% of the world’s population), the continent will be powerfully, indeed disproportionately, affected by its long-term consequences.

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Not all walls are built to divide us: In Africa, the world’s longest wall is setting its people free

By Tina Birmpili, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Across Africa, the world’s longest wall is being built. Not a wall to keep immigrants out or oppressed people in. Rather, a wall to unlock the potential of millions of people in the Sahel.

This is the Great Green Wall – an African-led initiative that the entire international community should throw its weight behind. To unlock the finance that will allow the wall to deliver on all its goals, however, we need to change the narrative in a diverse and vibrant region that is often dismissed as a lost cause.

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How can research help Least Developed Countries achieve sustainable development?

By Kunal Sen, Director of United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

The next decade is a make-or-break for the world’s most vulnerable countries. To tackle the unprecedented confluence of COVID-19, climate, and economic crises, new solutions are desperately needed. Scientific research is one key for finding long-lasting solutions.

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Interconnexion des infrastructures de transport : clé de succès de l’intégration régionale ouest-africaine

Par Alain Tchibozo, Chef Économiste de la BOAD, avec la collaboration de l’équipe des Économistes chargés de la Stratégie et des Études

Une approche fondée sur une plus grande intégration régionale, visant à pallier les contraintes liées à l’étroitesse des économies de chaque État membre dès sa création en 1994, l’Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) s’est fixé pour objectifs : i) le renforcement de la compétitivité des activités économiques et financières dans le cadre d’un marché ouvert et concurrentiel, et d’un environnement juridique rationalisé et harmonisé ; ii) la mise en œuvre de politiques et actions communes notamment sur les transports, l’aménagement du territoire, l’agriculture, l’énergie, les télécommunications. Au cours de ses 26 premières années d’existence, l’UEMOA a ainsi bénéficié d’un développement d’infrastructures dites structurantes, en particulier dans le domaine des transports avec un effet amplificateur sur l’expansion des échanges intra-régionaux.

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Enjeux et défis du financement du développement dans la zone de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine post-COVID-19

Par Alain Tchibozo, Chef Economiste, Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement – BOAD

Endettement accru par les dépenses liées à la Covid-19

Le recours à l’endettement pour financer les plans de riposte et de relance économique explique principalement le fait que le déficit budgétaire des pays de l’Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) se soit accru. Au plan des finances publiques, même en tenant compte d’un redémarrage de l’activité autour de 5.5% cette année (contre 1,5% en 2020), le déficit budgétaire global représenterait en 2021 près de 5,0% du PIB, après 5,4% en 2020. L’accumulation de déficits publics liés au financement de dépenses de fonctionnement des États apparaît de fait comme le principal facteur d’endettement public. Or la détérioration des finances publiques restreint l’accès futur des États à de nouveaux financements. En 2021, le service de la dette intérieure (paiement des intérêts et amortissement du principal) représentera plus de 50% du service total de la dette dans sept des huit États membres de l’UEMOA. En outre, la part des recettes publiques consacrée au service de la dette représente depuis 2020 plus d’1/3 des recettes totales dans sept États. Aussi, la question de la soutenabilité de la dette sera un enjeu crucial pour les États de la zone ces prochaines années.

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Divergent recoveries from COVID-19 in Africa require intentional action

By Anzetse Were, Senior Economist FSD Kenya

The COVID-19 pandemic has had divergent impacts within and between economies. 2021 is already being defined by multispeed and divergent recoveries. Rich economies with USA in the lead, and China, are set for a strong recovery, mainly linked to their willingness to support incomes and deploy unprecedented fiscal and monetary support and quick COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. Low-income countries however face grimmer economic prospects due to limited access to COVID-19 vaccines and weak public finances; they will suffer more significant medium-term losses, especially affecting countries that rely on tourism and commodity exports, and those with limited policy space to respond.

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COVID-19 impact on higher education in Africa

By Peter Koninckx, Strategic and Commercial Advisor, Cunégonde Fatondji, Analyst Intern, and Joel Burgos, Senior Project Manager, ShARE

Beyond the death toll and illness of millions of people due to COVID-19, businesses, healthcare, culture and education have had to cope with severe disturbances. But in our opinion, one could argue that higher-education students are amongst the most affected populations, particularly those in Africa. Although Africa is the continent with the least reported cases, the closure of higher education institutions was more widespread, and mitigation measures less effective than in other regions, according to a survey we conducted with more than 165 students across 21 African countries. No quick-fix solution exists, but the current crisis has highlighted the weaknesses in higher education in Africa, indicating where governments, international institutions, NGOs, and the private sector should focus their efforts.

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Time to accelerate debt relief to finance Africa’s recovery

By Marin Fouéré, Policy Analyst, OECD Development Centre and Daniele Fattibene, Research Fellow at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on African economies, home to the fastest growing population in the world. The burden of the crisis adds to the fact that Africa’s per capita real GDP growth over the period 2009-2019 was 1.3% per year, which is half the global average of 2.5%.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Summit on Financing African Economies, gathering African and other world leaders and international organisations, President Emmanuel Macron called for a New Deal for financing Africa’s sustainable recovery through profoundly innovative solutions.

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Women and conflict in West Africa and beyond

By Dr Diene Keita, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director (Programme), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Women are deliberately targeted in conflict

When conflict happens, the rule of law breaks down, freedom of movement is restricted, institutions and services are weakened, creating a lack of access to social services and information, and to food and livelihoods. This situation affects the entire population, but it disproportionately affects women. Research has shown that female-headed households are more vulnerable to stress and less capable of absorbing shocks, due to gender inequality, cultural restrictions and the feminisation of poverty. Conflict affects women and men differently and existing gender inequalities are compounded in times of conflict. Women and girls make up a large proportion of internally displaced populations (IDPs) and refugees. In Burkina Faso, 51% of IDPs are girls under the age of 14. Moreover, gender norms that associate masculinity with aggression make men more likely to perpetrate violence against those over whom they have power – usually women and children.

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