The COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Sub-Saharan African Economies

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Aug 16, 2020 | Centre for International Governance Innovation, Benno Ndulu

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sub-Saharan African countries saw a rapid buildup of debt, with nine countries already in, and more than 10 at high risk of, debt distress. The IMF projects the region’s economy to contract by 3.2 percent in 2020, twice the -1.6 percent projected  in April 2020. In this article for the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Benno Ndulu suggests that the pandemic found Sub-Saharan Africa ill-prepared, with weak health-care systems due to underinvestment, and a no fiscal space to fund containment interventions or safety nets to cushion their effects. For a majority of the poor, the absence of formal welfare systems, low personal savings, and no access to the credit system provide no means to finance their survival in lockdowns. States must therefore  rely on responsible personal behaviour and voluntary social distancing to safeguard their social capital.


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