Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Africa’s political and economic woes and increased its financing needs, the crisis could still trigger bold initiatives in international relations, trade, debt sustainability and investment. foreigners. Will Africa and the world seize the opportunity to chart a new and better course?
In this Big picture, Harvard University Celestin Monga urges the administration of US President Joe Biden to revive US-African relations at the symbolic, strategic and operational levels. Likewise, Carlos lopes from the University of Cape Town shows why Africa and the European Union – the region’s main trade and investment partner – should reconnect and build a stronger and more equal partnership. And Hippolyte Fofack of the African Export-Import Bank and Pat utomi of the African Union Pan-African Trade and Private Sector Investment Committee explains why Africa must demand a level playing field from the World Trade Organization.
Regarding the impact of the pandemic on debt sustainability, Paola Subacchi of the Queen Mary Global Policy Institute at the University of London warns that repayment moratoria for African countries, including under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), will not solve problems caused by large-scale Chinese loans. Even if the DSSI is fully implemented, argue Brahima Coulibaly from the Brookings Institution, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Vera songwe from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, multilateral lenders will still need to close Africa’s pandemic response funding gap.
But Johns Hopkins University Anne O. Krueger doubts that the shortcomings of the DSSI reflect its limited scope and scale. She argues that rich countries should provide the poorest with basic necessities linked to the pandemic, rather than relying on imprecise debt relief efforts that relieve pressure on governments to adopt policies. growth-promoting reforms. In the same spirit, the Ecobank Foundation Carl Manlan and Efosa Ojomo of the Clayton Christensen Institute urges African leaders to emulate China and target the continent’s 165 million diaspora people to attract more foreign direct investment.