Why the African free trade area could be the game-changer for the continent’s economies

African leaders have their work cut out to make the continental free trade area a success. Wikimedia CommonsMost economists see structural transformation as one of the main routes to Africa’s sustainable development. What it means is changing the share of agriculture, manufacturing and services in an economy. It is a central aim of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. With this aim in mind, economists and policymakers need to...

South Africa needs better food price controls to shield poor people from COVID-19 fallout

A woman walks past a market stall in Kliptown, Soweto. COVID-19 has wrought havoc on poor households in countries across the world. In South Africa, more and more people are facing hunger resulting from mass job losses and small, poorly implemented supplementary cash grants. On top of this the pandemic has put in stark relief the country’s poorly understood food system, in which powerful firms operate with little...

Africa’s high density urban settlements: cut the red tape and slash the cost of housing

African urban dwellers pay 55% more in rentals than their counterparts in other cities in the world. The challenges of informal settlements have once again been thrown into the spotlight in the midst of the current pandemic. Research has shown that some of the most at-risk populations and therefore the potential hotspots of COVID-19 are in informal settlements where density is above the threshold needed for social distancing....

Why African countries are reluctant to take up COVID-19 debt relief

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank group president David Malpass have offered debt relief to developing countries A debt service relief package has been approved by some of the world’s biggest lenders for more than 25 African countries. The arrangement includes the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the G20, the African Development Bank, and all Paris Club creditors. The goal was to free up more...

The IMF’s $4bn loan for South Africa: the pros, cons and potential pitfalls

South Africa's finance minister Tito Mboweni says the IMF loan will limit the country's economic vulnerabilities which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Gallo Images/Brenton GeachThe International Monetary Fund (CAI) has approved a R70 billion (US$4.3 billion) loan for South Africa to help the country manage the immediate consequences of the fallout from COVID-19. The Conversation Africa’s editor, Caroline Southey, asked Danny Bradlow to shed some light on what...

What drove Asia’s economic success stories, and what should Africa emulate?

East Asian countries have looked up to Japan as a model of success. The remarkable economic transformation of Asia in recent decades has attracted global attention. It has ignited scholarly and policy debates about the region’s development models and strategies. African policymakers have not been immune to the worldwide fascination with the “Asian miracle”. African leaders and officials have these past few years undertaken a constant stream of...
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