One thing is certain about COVID-19. We don’t know how long it will last, how many will be affected, and what the impact will be on society and the economy. Even the medical science questions – such as vaccines, mutations, explanations for variations in death and infection rates – remain currently unresolved, and approaching epidemiological uncertainty radically increases again.
Global growth estimates leave no room for doubts: 2020 will record a historic recession. Africa will not be spared: with the first year of negative growth in a quarter of a century, the continent's economic shrinkage will also be the most severe since the 1970s. Progress made over the past two decades will be eroded. However, despite the fragility of poorly diversified and industrialized economies, the overall economic contraction in Africa is set to remain more limited when compared to other world regions. Why?
Iraq is facing the biggest challenge to its economy since 2003. Even during the vicious and costly conflict with ISIS, when oil prices plummeted and the government struggled to finance the war, the economic shock did not appear to be as insurmountable as it does today. The COVID-19 epidemic in Iraq has shown no signs of abating and the IMF predicts that Iraq’s economy will contract by 4.7% in 2020.
The Blue Economy which was first proposed as a Report to the Club of Rome in 2009 points out that we have to replace efficiency with resilience. We have to convert the present economic model focused on competing globally with low prices. It is timely to design a framework that permits to generate more value while first of all responding to all the basic needs of a community. The low cost versus high value strategy can only be effective if and when society uses all readily available local resources available in its area of influence.
In response to the COVID19 crisis, governments across the world, including in Africa, have had to rapidly expand their budgets for healthcare and to avoid widespread poverty as economic activity slows. There are concerns that African countries are – as a result – vulnerable to a protracted debt crisis. The framing of this, however, may lead to the wrong policy prescriptions, and this is why.
As the pandemic continues to constrain the fiscal space of African countries – given the slowdown in domestic economies and decline in commodity prices – and occurs in a context where 40% of the continent was already faced with unsustainable debt burdens, discussions around restructuring Africa’s debt have begun to gain traction.
Africa’s growing public debt had sparked a renewed global debate about debt sustainability on the continent well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa’s allegedly unsustainable indebtedness is largely owing to the emergence of China as a major financier of African infrastructure, resulting in a narrative that China is using debt to gain geopolitical leverage by trapping poor countries into unsustainable loans.
According to the latest World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” publication, Covid-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on East Asia causing a -1,2% GDP’s reduction in 2020, that is the region’s first recession since 1998’s Asian financial crisis, while China is expected to slow to 1% this year. Among the various consequences that may materialise, the report highlights the disruption of the global and regional value chains.
After 6-years of rapid development, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has entered a new era in terms of quality development. In this grand picture, cities acting as sub-state actors along the BRI, have gained new momentum for displaying geographic significance and economic attractiveness. This paper intends to define cities’ role in the joint promotion of BRI, exemplify how cities will prosper in the process and explore new opportunities of investment after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic currently acts as a magnifying glass under which we can view the state of international cooperation. What we see there is cause for deep concern. We are observing a global health crisis to which only a few countries have reacted quickly, transparently and on the basis of facts. Too often, trivialisation, cover-ups or the spreading of conspiracy theories have prevented an effective response.
Only a few short months following the one year anniversary of the Sudanese revolution, Khartoum is facing a global pandemic and a deteriorating economic situation. Over the last decade, Sudanese people have been suffering from inflation and gas shortages as a result of losing 75 percent of its oil revenue that was assumed by South Sudan after the separation of the two states.
The combination of the government’s emergency policies and the plunge in economic activity means Italy’s fiscal health will see a massive blow. As analyzed in the most recent briefing, in our baseline we assume that the fiscal deficit will increase to around 10% of GDP and the government debt will see a level shift to around 155% of GDP.