Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the lowest-income region in the world, has been the worst hit by the Covid-19 economic downturn. Most SSA countries cannot borrow the money they need to minimize the damage, and their central banks lack the range of options available to the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve. While the average stimulus funding as a percent of GDP is around 22% in G20 countries, it is only around 3% in SSA countries. Since GDP is lower in most African countries compared to most G20 countries, 3% equates to a much smaller value than it would in a G20 country.
Numbers in the Spotlight
($3.5bn) is the cost of the crude oil pipeline project that will connect Uganda's oil fields to Tanzania's port of Tanga
($130mn) has been secured in financing by Uganda from the World Bank for the upgrading of the 105km Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road
($30mn) is the estimated cost of constructing for the proposed Pan-African Heritage World Museum in Ghana
Ethiopia is introducing new currency (Birr) notes which will include enhanced security features, giving Ethiopians 3 months to replace their old notes. This demonetisation strategy aims to curb cash hoarding, illegal trade activities and illicit financial flows, and reduce money lost every year in reprinting damaged notes. Currently 113bn Birr ($3bn) lives outside of the formal banking system exacerbating the liquidity problems of commercial banks. This move is part of a wider effort to funnel cash from the informal sector into digital cash transactions, which last month saw limitations imposed on how much cash a firm or individual can hold at any given time.
Ghana has raised its farm gate price for cocoa by 21% after implementing the $400 a tonne Living Income Deferential on cocoa, jointly lobbied for by Ghana and Ivory Coast in the international market. Close to 800,000 farmers are poised to benefit, receiving about $305 more per tonne in the new season starting October 1. While Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire together produce 65% of the world’s cocoa, they earn only about $6bn each year from the $100bn global chocolate industry. The exporting of raw cocoa is a major cause of the low returns received by Ghana’s farmers - value addition is key in improving returns.
Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership
Liberia has declared rape a national emergency and plans to introduce new measures, including setting up a national sex offender registry. These will help address longstanding concerns over sexual assault in a country where in 2015, only 2% of the 803 recorded rape cases led to a conviction. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Nigeria's Kaduna state have approved surgical castration as punishment for those convicted of raping children under the age of 14. While Nigeria's federal law provides between 14 years and life imprisonment as punishment, Nigerians have called for tougher punishment, following the recent rape and murder of a 22 year old that led to street protests, an online petition signed by thousands, and Twitter hashtag #WeAreTired.
Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities
The World Bank has approved a $130mn grant to Uganda for the upgrading of the 105km Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo Road Corridor Project in the underdeveloped West Nile sub-region (in northern Uganda). The proposed road corridor passes near Bidibidi, Africa’s most populous refugee settlement. Around 57% of the 1.4 mn refugees (largest number in Africa) in Uganda live in the northern region. Historical lack of development in West Nile, combined with the continued influx of refugees, has added pressure on existing public services and infrastructure, increasing challenges for local economic development to both refugees and host communities. The project aims to bring economic and social benefits, directly impacting 360,177 refugees and indirectly benefiting 810,529 refugees within the region.
High value skills development and talent repatriation