News & Analysis: Gabon

The promise of digitising cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa during COVID-19 and beyond

“This year, the coronavirus pandemic has forced governments to grapple with difficult questions regarding lockdowns, contact tracing and the provision of emergency financial assistance to citizens now without work. In developing countries, these hardships are magnified with the World Bank estimating that remittances – money transfers sent from foreign workers to their home countries – to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 19.7 percent (from $554 billion in 2019 to $445 billion in 2020). Considering the significant role that remittances play in alleviating poverty and improving nutrition, many governments have turned to mobile cash transfers for vulnerable citizens to use while minimising COVID-19 exposure.”

via Africa Portal

IMF Executive Board Approves a US$152.61 Million Disbursement Under the Rapid Financing Instrument to Gabon to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund today approved a purchase of $152.61 million [to Gabon]. This is the second purchase under the Rapid Financing Instrument to Gabon since the onset of the pandemic. It aims at helping Gabon in meeting its urgent balance of payments needs.”

via IMF

Fitch: Sub-Sahara African debt burdens rising faster than elsewhere

“Government debt burdens across sub-Saharan Africa are rising at a faster pace and to higher levels than elsewhere in emerging markets, heightening the risk of further rating downgrades and defaults, ratings agency Fitch warned.”

via Reuters

The Day After COVID-19: Overcoming the Novel Coronavirus double jeopardy in Central Africa

“Central Africa countries announced various stimulus packages to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the population and on the economy. However, those measures had only redistributive impacts in the very short term, without significant effect on the overall production level.”

via CNBC Africa

Africa can build back better after COVID-19

“Economies and livelihoods have been heavily affected as the demand for Africa’s commodities has fallen and tourism has declined sharply. Remittances — which can account for more than 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — are also drying up.”

via Mail & Guardian

COVID-19 and the future of work in Africa: How to reduce income loss for formal sector employees

“‘While the scale and reach of the impact on employment will differ among countries and sectors, the main effects will be a drop in earnings (income) and increased underemployment (reduced hours) rather than unemployment.”

via Brookings Institution

The economic resilience of African countries offers a template for growth in a post-COVID-19 era

“As Africa braces for a head-on collision with coronavirus with the World Bank announcing its first recession in 25 years, the continent can eventually look forward to many post-COVID-19 recovery and growth narratives. Public and private leaders should draw on past experiences to face the economic challenges of COVID-19.”

via Quartz Africa

Sovereign Defaults Set to Hit Record in 2020

“Fitch rates five sovereigns at ‘CCC’ or below (excluding those in default): Gabon, Mozambique, Republic of Congo and Suriname at ‘CCC’ and Zambia at ‘CC’. The average annual default rate over 1995-2019 for ‘CCC/CC/C’ sovereigns was 26.5% and the cumulative five-year default rate was 38.5%.”

via Fitch Ratings

Coronavirus in Africa: Prison fever

“What are the consequences of the pandemic on the living conditions in African prisons?”

via Prison Insider

Are African Countries Easing Lockdown Too Early?

“Many are replacing lockdowns with curfews and mandatory facemasks in public spaces alongside the basic social distancing measures, while pushing up domestic production by local textiles and apparel factories to repurpose as well as small-scale tailors to meet demand for masks.”

via Development Reimagined