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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Revenue mobilisation through tax transparency: Lessons from Uganda’s transformative journey

By John Rujoki Musinguzi, Commissioner General – Uganda Revenue Authority, Mary Baine,Director – Tax Programmes, African Tax Administration Forum, Zayda Manatta, Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and Marcello Estevão, Global Director, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank Group

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Uganda has significantly strengthened its tax transparency and tax capacity in just a few years to mobilise more domestic resources to finance sustainable development. Moreover, the country has taken significant steps to tackle illicit financial flows by implementing global transparency and information exchange standards. The results have been impressive: USD 26 million in additional revenue has been identified since 2014 through audits and exchange of information, USD 22 million of which has already been paid to government coffers.

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Mobilisation des recettes par la transparence fiscale : Enseignements tirés du parcours transformationnel de l’Ouganda

Par John Rujoki Musinguzi, Directeur général – Autorité fiscale de l’Ouganda, Mary Baine, Directrice – Programmes fiscaux, Forum sur l’administration fiscale africaine, Zayda Manatta, Cheffe du Secrétariat du Forum mondial sur la transparence et l’échange de renseignements à des fins fiscales, et Marcello Estevão, Directeur mondial, Macroéconomie, commerce et investissement, Groupe de la Banque mondiale

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En quelques années seulement, l’Ouganda a considérablement renforcé sa transparence et sa capacité fiscales afin de mobiliser davantage de ressources intérieures pour financer le développement durable. Pour lutter contre les flux financiers illicites, l’Ouganda a pris des mesures considérables pour assurer la mise en œuvre des normes mondiales visant à accroître la transparence et faciliter l’échange de renseignements. Les résultats ont été impressionnants, avec 26 millions USD de recettes supplémentaires identifiées depuis 2014 grâce à des vérifications fiscales et l’échange de renseignements. Sur ces recettes identifiées, 22 millions USD ont déjà été versés dans les caisses de l’État.

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Intensifier les possibilités d’emploi dans les systèmes alimentaires pour les jeunes et les femmes en Afrique de l’Ouest

Par Koffi Zougbédé, Secrétariat du Club du Sahel et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest

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En 2011, Fatoumata Cissoko, jeune femme vivant en Guinée et diplômée en comptabilité, a lancé sa société de transformation de fruits secs avec 260 USD. Elle produit environ 16 tonnes d’ananas séché par an vendu dans de nombreux magasins et supermarchés de la capitale, Conakry, et d’autres villes du pays. Récemment, sa société a considérablement accru sa capacité de production pour améliorer sa compétitivité sur les marchés régionaux et internationaux. Fatoumata a également ouvert un restaurant bio pour compléter la chaîne de production et elle emploie directement 15 femmes. L’histoire de Fatoumata est un exemple des nombreuses opportunités d’emploi émergentes dans les systèmes alimentaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest.

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Africa’s next transformation: connecting people and places

By Jose Luis Guasch, Former Head of the World Bank Global Experts Group on PPP and Logistics, Professor Emeritus University of California, San Diego

Pedro, a small farmer in the Andes, spends another sleepless night worrying about how to feed his family. He wonders how to improve the productivity of his small crop of vegetables and how to reduce time cost and losses (spoilage) in the process of taking his produce to the market. George is a small and medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneur, who exports his products. He has to face poor and bumpy roads, delays and red tape in securing permits and certifications, cumbersome custom and/or cross border procedures, lack of cooling facilities, losses due to spoilage and even theft, deficient packaging and scale consolidation, low productivity etc. That is the common plight of most SME farmers and producers in emerging economies. The costs of bringing their products to the market hover around 30% of product value, when it should and can be below 10%.

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Are African countries heading for a carbon lock-in or leapfrogging to renewables?

By Galina Alova, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

Non-hydro renewables are likely to account for less than 10% of Africa’s power generation by the end of this decade. My recent co-authored study predicts fossil fuels to continue to dominate the electricity mix in many African countries, and the continent as a whole.

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Africa: continent of challenges and possibilities

By Professor Aleksander Surdej, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD

Africa’s development depends to a large extent on African people themselves, including on their ability to strengthen public institutions and end destructive conflicts.

It is often recalled with pride that the African continent is the cradle of civilisation and perhaps its future. At the same time, Africa faces numerous challenges analysed by the OECD, which its Development Centre proposes to address through horizontal co-operation. Let’s delineate the most important ones.

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How West Africa’s cashew companies have weathered the COVID-19 crisis

By Violeta Gonzalez, Head of Partnerships, Outreach and Resource Mobilisation, Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)

April is usually cashew marketing season across West Africa – a lively affair where traders tout bags of recently harvested raw nuts to buyers, most of whom have flown in from Vietnam and India. But 2020 was not a usual year. COVID-19 containment measures meant closures – of international borders, stopping major buyers travelling to West Africa – as well as domestic markets, leading to violent clashes between police and traders. It goes without saying that the impact of these border and market closures came at a great cost to the livelihoods of many West African cashew farmers, producers, and traders. Small businesses faced plummeting revenues or were at the brink of bankruptcy. Instead of offering support, local banks and financial institutions supporting West African cashew producers slashed lending during the pandemic.

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