WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Africa needs carefully-calibrated domestic policies and stronger support from the international community to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and return to its path of stronger growth, the head of the IMF and the African Caucus said on Thursday.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Domitien Ndihokubwayo, Chairman of the African Caucus, issued a joint statement after a meeting of the African Consultative Group, which includes senior representatives from 12 African countries.
They said the key priority remained to significantly scale up COVID-19 vaccine production capacity and accelerate vaccine roll-out, but it was also essential to prioritize policies to help protect livelihoods and vulnerable groups.
Africa remains gripped by the COVID-19 health emergency which triggered its worst economic shock in decades and saw millions of people fall into poverty.
While oil-rich North Africa was expected to grow faster, the recovery was likely to be much slower in Sub-Saharan Africa, the IMF and African Caucus leaders said, noting that per capita incomes in many countries were not expected to return to pre-crisis levels before 2025.
They called for transformative policies, including increased investment in digital technologies and climate resilient infrastructure.
Strengthening the business climate would spur productivity and attract private investment, they said, as would advancing trade and integration through implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Ndihokubwayo told Georgieva that “substantial additional financing” would be required in order for Africa to meet its key development objectives, but no details were provided.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tom Hogue and Michael Perry)