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Covid-19 as the Catalyst for Economic Recovery in Africa

  • By Tobias Meso
  • November 4, 2021
  • 0 Comment
  • 23 Views

During this historic moment, the Covid-19 pandemic has marked a turning point in most of the world’s economies. Governments have been presented with two options; use this crisis to emerge stronger by building a more resilient economy or fail to restart the dwindling economy and end up drowning in debt-laden consumption. Multiple areas have laid out opportunities to aid in the transformation of the economy and deliver a naturally resilient recovery. Preliminary work has already begun in most countries on what the next chapter of recovery will be like, that is, stabilizing financial institutions and the facilitation of new investments.

Covid-19 has played the role of stimulating drastic ways for rapid private sector development and economic recovery. Almost all economies all over the world are looking for ways on how to recover after the devastating effects of the pandemic. Africa which was also well hit by the pandemic has taken the recovery path. Some of the major factors that countries have had their focus on when it comes to outweighing Covid-19 effects to the economy include short term measures, like creation of job opportunities and lowering of taxes, and long-term measures, like modernizing existing infrastructure, simplifying government bureaucracy and enhancing public-private dialogues (PPDs).

Some African countries are still not focused enough on building back together considering the substantial hardships that have already been experienced by their economies. A more rigid approach is needed to counter such vulnerabilities and respond to the acute needs of both the public and private sectors. Botswana is  lucky as far as economic recovery is concerned since Business Botswana will be focusing on creating a conducive business environment through an intervention supported by the Investment Climate Reform (ICR) Facility led by Kenya Climate Innovation Center Consulting Limited (KCL) on behalf of the British Council (BC). The program will seek to provide technical assistance to Business Botswana (BB) to support Public-Private Dialogues (PPDs) on the Private Sector Recovery Plan.

There are ongoing debates on the necessary policies for maintaining sustainable economic recovery. When questioned on what policies would be of importance at this particular time, entrepreneurs mostly revolve their answers around getting micro loans as well as other types of funding for their businesses. As a result, governments have decided to seek financing from international sources since local budgets are limited. Capital support to finance institutions as they absorb the pandemic related losses is really needed. Governments are trying to expand the reach of central bank programs and microfinance institutions to ensure that the finance aid needed is in the local currency at an affordable rate. Reforms that favor private investment should also be identified and implemented to create the conditions for future capital flows.

Proper adaptations should be set up to guide crisis response and recovery interventions. Policy framework created should contain the following;

  • Strengthening community engagement: all development actors should work together to prepare for recovery  
  • Strengthening sources of resilience by mitigating risks and strategizing on emergency response.       
  • Sequencing response of a country’s priorities and country’s strategic programming.  
  • Balancing restructuring efforts and short-term reliefs to provide the much- needed emergency support while also providing the medium to long term plans for recovery.
  • Focusing support on vulnerable groups such as women and youth.

 

Even though Covid-19 has brought devastating effects to Botswana’s economy, it has acted as the needed catalyst to charge the push for recovery plans in the country. It is the Covid-19 effects on the economy that have propelled organizations like Business Botswana with the support of ICR Facility led by KCL to champion for PPDs in Botswana. More so, it is crucial for the Public and Private Sector to fully direct their concentration on economic recovery in this era where an unprecedented amount of attention is being paid to the impacts of Covid-19 crisis. Most vulnerable populations are at the risk of going unnoticed and this threatens to drive the country into further economic crisis. It will be important for the governments to provide enough support to balance short-term, sector-level relief and plan for medium term to long-term recovery in order to achieve a sustainable economic growth for their countries.