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. As a result, over 400,000 people have died so far.
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.
One of Russia's main domestic challenges in the near future is fragmentation. Although president Vladimir Putin's approval rating is still very high – 68% in September according to the independent Levada Centre – there are a few elements suggesting that the "invisible pact of stability" that has bonded the ruling power and the people over the last twenty years is now slightly damaged. Polls show dissimilar data.
The Russian economy managed to get out of the downward cycle after 2014 caused primarily by sanctions and falling oil prices, which considerably affected the Russian economy still suffering from Dutch disease with its over-dependence on exports of natural resources.