The writer is Ghana’s minister for finance and outgoing chairman of the Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank
Ghana confirmed its first two Covid-19 cases on March 12, imports from Norway and Turkey. Africa has since recorded more than 1.5m cases and counting, though in terms of infections and deaths, we have fared better than most regions. Perhaps this is because of our youthful population, the natural social distancing of outdoor living and experience with infectious disease management — helped by good leadership.
Our economies, however, have not been spared. Across the continent, governments are facing falling revenues, rising expenditures, increasing debt distress, and significant reversals in development indicators. In an omen of what is to come, Zambia now appears headed for the continent’s first pandemic-related private debt default. The human costs are tremendous. Up to 39m people are expected to slip below the poverty line.