Shaping Africa’s post-Covid recovery: A new eBook | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal

With a difference of some flashpoints in Northern and Southern Africa, a continent has been mostly spared from a approach health outcome of a Covid-19 pandemic. However, a African economy has been significantly harm by a mercantile consequences of Covid-19, that piled on other ongoing calamities such as a locust predicament devasting crops opposite a continent (Evenett and Baldwin 2021). Economies in a continent are heavily contingent on commodity exports (Arezki and Fan 2020), unfamiliar approach investment, remittances, assist as good as tourism – a zone that has been ravaged by a pestilence and is doubtful to redeem fast (Djankov 2020).

Revised expansion forecasts by a African Development Bank and a IMF uncover that Africa is experiencing a initial retrogression in a entertain of a century. Before a blast of a pandemic, 2020-21 expansion was approaching to sojourn tighten to 3.5%, while a many new forecasts advise that a continent will have 0 expansion over 2020-21. Given a continent high race growth, this will lead to a 2.5% contraction in GDP per capita (Table 1).

Table 1 Average genuine GDP expansion (%)

Source: possess elaborations formed on IMF WEO data.

While a impact of a pestilence on GDP expansion is identical opposite universe regions (for a contention of a impact of a pestilence opposite building regions, see Djankov and Panizza 2020), Africa is of sold regard since of a high superiority of impassioned poverty. Recent estimates advise that a segment will be obliged for scarcely one-third of a boost in impassioned misery compared with a pestilence (Valensisi 2020).

Download a CEPR Press eBook Shaping Africa’s Post-Covid Recovery here

A new eBook (Arezki et al. 2021), summarises new investigate on a mercantile outcome of a Covid-19 pestilence in Africa covering a far-reaching array of topics focusing on a response of firms, households, governments, and ubiquitous organisations. 

Business and domicile responses

The initial partial of a eBook focuses on business and domicile responses. It starts with a extensive firm-level research by Davies, Nayyar, Reyes, and Torres. The authors use surveys conducted by a World Bank Group to investigate how firms are influenced by a pandemic. They find that firms in sub-Saharan Africa news aloft degrees of doubt and worsened entrance to supervision support programmes compared to firms in other rising economies. 

In a second territory of this section, Djankov and Evans uncover that there is estimable heterogeneity opposite firms in Africa. By regulating elementary accounting measures to guess a share of private prolongation firms in financial trouble underneath a suppositious unfolding of losing half their sales, they find that incomparable and comparison firms tend to be some-more resilient, and that these effects are quite critical in West Africa. 

In a subsequent chapter, Byrne, Karpe, Kondylis, Lang, and Loeser concentration on sectoral heterogeneity. Using high-frequency executive taxation annals from Rwanda on organisation sales and employment, these authors uncover that, while a initial startle impacted sectors in that in-person work was many necessary, a sectors in that face-to-face interactions with consumers are many required continue to believe a long recovery.

Foreign approach investments are a poignant source of outmost financial for many African countries. Chaudhary, Santos-Paulino and Trentini uncover that a pestilence led to a thespian decrease in FDI flows to Africa as lockdowns slowed existent investment projects and a prospects of a long retrogression led investors to reassess new projects. 

Several African economies are characterised by an critical participation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The territory by Gaspar, Medas and Ralyea suggests that well-run and financially sound SOEs can foster a some-more thorough mercantile recovery. However, this certain purpose of SOEs need a set of extensive reforms directed during improving a clarity and burden of SOEs operations and a attribute between SOEs and a government. 

Arezki, Froidevaux, Huynh, Nguyen, and Salez use vast information research to try a outcome of a pestilence on tourism in Africa – a zone on that many countries in a continent count heavily. The authors disagree that restarting tourism is a priority for open process and that investing in ride reserve and health standards, including vaccines, will encourage ubiquitous investors that Africa is open for business.  

The final dual chapters of this initial territory concentration on households. Furbush, Josephson, Kilic, and Michler yield justification on a elaborating socioeconomic impacts of a pestilence among households in several African countries. They find that while households are starting to see liberation in income, business revenues, and food security, these gains have been comparatively modest. Adjognon, Jeong, and Legovini use a row of domicile surveys to uncover that a pestilence did not have a vast impact on food confidence in a organisation of African countries. The authors disagree that a decrease of lockdown measures and, rather in contrariety with a formula of a prior chapter, a scaling-up of amicable insurance programmes competence have offering insurance to exposed populations and supposing a direct impulse for a rest of a economy. 

International financing 

The second territory of a eBook focuses on entrance to ubiquitous finance, patterns in ubiquitous borrowing, and country-specific experiences. 

In a initial territory of this section, Arezki explores ways in that ubiquitous expansion banks can rethink their purpose in rebuilding a tellurian economy. He points out that, as a change sheets of multilateral and informal expansion banks are comparatively tiny compared with a distance of a tellurian economy, these institutions fast encountered boundary to their abilities to muster resources to correct a consequences of a Covid-19 pandemic. 

Duggan, Morris, Sandefur, and Yang accumulate a new dataset on World Bank lending directed during comparing a World Bank’s Covid response to a response during a tellurian financial crisis. The authors uncover that lending commitments have accelerated in 2020, though tangible disbursements did not grow by most and that assist stays tiny relations to a scale of a crisis.

About 20% of open and publicly guaranteed outmost debt released by countries in sub-Saharan Africa is due to China. Brautigam and Acker provides sum on a combination of Chinese lending. Chinese loans typically financial infrastructure, with 70% of sum lending going to only 4 sectors: transport, electric power, communications, and water. 

The pestilence has propelled a emanate of debt trouble during a forefront of a process agenda. Bolton, Gulati, and Panizza report Africa’s debt conditions and plead some options for providing proxy authorised insurance to debtor countries in a eventuality of a tellurian debt crisis. 

Hausmann and Goldstein concentration on a believe of 3 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors indicate out that there are factors that behind down smoothness of a infection in poorer countries. However, low-income countries can't rest as most on their medical systems when their adults get sick, and their governments have most smaller mercantile space to catch taxation income declines or to enhance spending in a eventuality of a crisis. The 3 cases also uncover a significance of ubiquitous cooperation, believe origination and financial support. 

Haidar discusses a box of Egypt, where a pestilence has resulted in a tourism standstill, poignant collateral flight, and a slack in remittances. He shows that Egypt responded to a predicament with a extensive package directed during rebellious a health puncture and ancillary mercantile activity, though that serve stairs are indispensable to tame a pathogen and lapse a economy to a expansion path.

What’s next?

The universe is experiencing another call of Covid-19 infections. While several vaccines are starting to be commercialised and distributed globally, Africa faces doubt over a logistical and financing hurdles compared with a vast vaccination campaign. COVAX, an ubiquitous facility, aims during accelerating a prolongation of Covid-19 vaccines and guaranteeing entrance for each nation in a world, with a design of vaccinating during slightest 20% of a race of each nation by a finish of 2021. This 20% aim is both desirous and underwhelming. Ambitious since of a several hurdles associated to a production, distribution, and financing of Covid vaccines; underwhelming since 20% of people vaccinated will not be sufficient to move behind mercantile activity to pre-crisis levels, even if a aim is reached. 

Besides a logistical challenges, one pivotal emanate relates to a ubiquitous pricing of vaccines. While a proxy cessation of patents could concede generics to be constructed and distributed to building countries quickly, a tellurian village has so distant been reluctant to adopt it.

The behind smoothness of vaccination to Africa – and building countries in ubiquitous – is worrisome. Political leaders in Africa and a modernized economies comparison might be underestimating a prospects for a behind though large widespread of a Covid-19 pathogen on a continent. Existing information blink a superiority of a disease, and a newly found variants of a pathogen might lead to Africa using into serve difficulties. With a rest of a universe taming a illness with endangered efforts, Africa could turn a new reservoir. This unfolding has to be avoided with wilful process actions, including a proxy cessation of patents rights for Covid-19 vaccines for bad countries.


Arezki, R and R Fan (2020), “Oil Price Wars in Time of Covid-19”,, 10 March. 

Arezki, R, S Djankov and U Panizza (2021), Shaping Africa’s Post-Covid Recovery, CEPR Press.

Djankov, S and U Panizza (2020), COVID-19 in Developing Economies, CEPR Press.

Evenett, S and R Baldwin (2021), “Memo to a new WTO Director-General: Never rubbish a crisis”,, 10 February.

Valensisi, G (2020), “COVID-19 and tellurian poverty: A rough assessment”, in S Djankov and U Panizza (eds), COVID-19 in Developing Economies, CEPR Press.

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