The pandemic could undercut Africa’s precarious progress

“Even if vaccines come soon, African treasuries will still need help to avoid drawn-out debt crises and growth-choking cuts to spending.”

via The Economist

The COVID-19 crisis is boosting mobile money

“In Rwanda the number of mobile-money transfers doubled in the week after a lockdown was imposed in March, according to data collected by the telecommunications regulator and analysed by Cenfri, a South African think-tank. By late April users were making 3m transactions a week, five times the pre-pandemic norm.”

via The Economist

Why COVID-19 seems to spread more slowly in Africa

“Elsewhere a lack of testing makes it harder to assess the true course of the disease. But what data there are, and new analysis by the World Health Organisation (who), suggest the virus is spreading more slowly in Africa than elsewhere—and that its path will vary across the continent.”

via The Economist

Has COVID-19 killed globalisation?

“As economies reopen, activity will recover, but don’t expect a quick return to a carefree world of unfettered movement and free trade. The pandemic will politicise travel and migration and entrench a bias towards self-reliance. This inward-looking lurch will enfeeble the recovery, leave the economy vulnerable and spread geopolitical instability.”

via The Economist

Lacking data, many African governments make policy in the dark

“It is often difficult to assess the information that is collected. Patient records in health clinics, for example, are almost always written by hand, and then often gather dust in a corner. Moreover, when governments do publish data online they frequently use formats that make the numbers hard to collate and analyse.”

via The Economist

Zambia was already a case study in how not to run an economy

“Zambia is arguably the developing country facing the biggest debt crisis in the era of COVID-19. Nearly half of its tax revenues go towards debt service; add the public wage bill and there is little left. In 2019 its budget deficit was 10.9% of GDP.”

via The Economist

Which emerging markets are in most financial peril?

“As the pandemic wreaks havoc on economies and public finances, the natural question is: who’s next? More than 100 countries, including South Africa, have asked the imf for help.”

via The Economist

Don’t trust the Internet: What South Africa Learned from AIDS

“In almost every year of the past two decades more than a third of deaths in South Africa have been aids-related. Thabo Mbeki, the president from 1999 to 2008, swallowed a crank theory he found online that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not cause aids, which it does. He delayed life-saving treatment, cutting short hundreds of thousands of lives.”

via The Economist

Can the IMF Bail Out the Global Economy? An Interview with Kristalina Georgieva

“More countries are turning to the IMF for support than at any point in its history. In an exclusive podcast interview ahead of its Spring Meetings, host Anne McElvoy and Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist’s editor-in-chief, ask IMF’s head Kristalina Georgieva how it intends to bail out the global economy. Could issuing “paper gold” provide the answer or does the IMF need new tools for the job?”

via The Economist

Africa is woefully ill-equipped to cope with covid-19

“Most rich countries have struggled to respond to the outbreak. African ones have fewer medics and less kit. Social distancing is far harder in overcrowded slums. Lockdowns could increase poverty and hunger. Nor do most African countries have the money to tide people and companies over.”

via The Economist