Maxwell Opoku-Afari: Maxwell Opoku-Afari: Crisis to recovery strengthening economic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa during Covid-19

Speaking notes by Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, for IMF Webinar, 22 July 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
24 September 2020
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Introduction

1. The global economy is going through extraordinary times, requiring even more exceptional responses. Policy response has been swift and decisive in many countries - first to secure lives, and, to reduce the social and economic burden from the pandemic especially on vulnerable segments of the population.

2. Massive fiscal support measures and strong supportive monetary policies are being implemented in most countries to deal with the crisis. In subSaharan Africa (SSA), most countries are confronting the crisis at a time when they are confronted with limited or no fiscal space, a situation that has further amplified their vulnerability. This has thus made external financial support ever more critical at this point. The Fund and other multilateral institutions as well as some bilateral partners have responded with massive financial support - a commendable feat.

3. The pandemic is still evolving and for much of SSA the cases are surging with considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of the effect of the pandemic on in the region. Safely navigating the rapidly changing dynamics associated with the pandemic for sustainable recovery requires maintaining a careful balance between the concerns about zero tolerance for losing life and high predisposition and tolerance for securing the structural pillars and conditions necessary for supporting the living. A laser-sharp focus on the core public health and related economic issues is important in this process.