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Recovery for Africa pegged on preparation

Recovery for Africa pegged on preparation
Written by publisher team

By VINCENT OWINO

Africa’s path to economic recovery from the Covid-19 disruption may lie in addressing income inequalities and expanding digitisation.

A study focusing on the economic pains of Covid-19 says job losses, poor vaccination rates and, in some cases, illiteracy, must be reversed for Africa’s quicker recovery.

According to “The economic impact of Covid-19 and prospects for a post-pandemic economic recovery in Africa,” contracted in 2020, leading to mass job losses, a drop in manufacturing, and a decline in foreign direct investment.

The study carried out in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia cites African governments’ poor preparedness for the pandemic or any crisis for that matter as the main reason economic recovery has been slow, and might continue to hamper growth if no serious Intervention is made.

Inequality, which rose exponentially in the aftermath of the pandemic, and is the leading threat to Africa’s recovery and its reduction should be at the heart of Africa’s economic revival policies.

Led by Lyal White, a business professor at the University of Johannesburg, advise African governments to enhance efforts that fast-track economic and upscale preparedness for future recovery crises. It says that by 2030, ten of the countries with the largest number of extremely poor people in the world will be in Africa, thanks to this pandemic.

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On employment, the scholars advise that governments should improve efforts to reduce Africa’s informal sector, which currently accounts for 80 percent of non-agricultural jobs and up to 60 percent of urban employment.

The research has also cited the lack of data for use in planning and policy formulation as a major hinderance to good economic performance and recovery.

“From tallying Covid-19 infections to the impact of the pandemic local, national, and regional, the challenge of poor numbers and normald the continent’s response and recovery and will continue to do so if not addressed holistically at national, regional, and continental levels,” the scholars say.

According to the research, nearly half of African states have not conducted a national census since 2009 even though the recommended time between censuses is 10 years.

Also, with nearly 31 percent of adults in the continent lacking formal identification, it is difficult to have financial, economic, healthcare, and education inclusion to effectively track migration.

“Reliable data needs to be the foundation of planning for post-pandemic recovery, particularly given the fact that most African countries have high levels of informality in terms of business, migration, and residency,” the research recommends.

To further enhance the speed of economic recovery, the study suggests that Africa raises access to the internet as well as quality and reliability of such access.

According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, less than 20 percent of households on the continent have access to the internet.

This restraints economic growth, given that it is projected that the internet economy will account for up to $180 billion of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product, or about 14 percent of its total GDP.

“Informal jobs and businesses are typically insecure, low in productivity, often have unskilled owners and workers and lack ready access to credit, basic services, and high-value markets,” the study concludes.

“While many countries did not suffer high infection rates, they were affected by the impact of lockdowns in other regions, particularly in trade, the fall in commodity prices, travel lockdowns, and other measures,” the study states.

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