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COVID-19 in Africa’s Small Island Developing States: the Experience of Cabo Verde, Mauritius and the Seychelles

July 28, 2020


World Bank Group

Small Island Developing States are among the most vulnerable to external shocks, from natural disasters to pandemics.  Cabo Verde, Mauritius, and Seychelles have each acted swiftly to contain the virus and protect their people from the worst of the health crisis. Bertrand Belle, Economic Advisor to the President of Seychelles, Dr. Giberto Barros, Secretary of State for Finance for Cabo Verde, and Dr. Vasantrao Gujadhur, Director of Public Health for Mauritius, will discuss the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on their island states. The panel will also focus on the policy responses of their governments, and structural reform agendas for “rebuilding better” and recovery.    

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    Bertrand Belle

    Economic Advisor to the President of Seychelles

    Bertrand Bell is Economic Policy Advisor to the President of Seychelles. He previously served as Principal Secretary for Economic Policy and Planning. Prior to that, he worked in the Ministry of Finance on numerous projects of the IMF reform program. These included the design and implementation of a new social welfare system to facilitate a floating of the exchange rate and abolition of universal subsidies. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he was a main contributor to the book “Africa on the Move: Unlocking the Potential of Small Middle-Income States” published by the International Monetary Fund in January 2016.


    Dr. Vasantrao Gujadhur

    Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health & Wellness, Mauritius

    Dr. Vasantrao Gujadhur is the Director of Public Health Services in the Ministry of Health for Mauritius. He has served as an elected member of the Medical Council of Mauritius for over 8 years, representing the Ministry of Health as the focal point for WHO International Health Regulation and for the Indian Ocean Commission for Health since 2017. He is actively involved in the management of response to COVID-19 in Mauritius and is part of the National Communication Cell for the COVID-19 Committee. Dr Gujadhur has over 35 years of experience as a medical practitioner in the public sector, with more than 20 years in the public health domain.


    Gilberto de Barros

    Secretary of State for Finance, Cabo Verde

    Gilberto de Barros is the State Secretary of Finance in Cabo Verde. Dr. Gilberto de Barros has held various positions within the Government of Cabo Verde. Previously, he had worked for the World Bank in the Financial and Private Sector Department specializing in Public and Private Infrastructure Partnerships. Dr. Gilberto de Barros holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Indiana University.


    Albert Zeufack

    Africa Region Chief Economist, World Bank

    Albert Zeufack, a Cameroonian national, is the World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region. He joined the World Bank in 1997 as a research economist in the macroeconomics division of the Research Department. Since then, he has held several positions in the East Asia and Pacific region, as well as in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice with a particular focus on Africa, Europe and Central Asia. Mr. Zeufack’s main research interest is the micro-foundations of macroeconomics. Prior to his appointment as Chief Economist, he was Practice Manager in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice and leader of the World Bank-wide Community of Practice for the Management of Natural Resources Rents, a group interested in sovereign wealth, fiscal rules, public spending patterns, and macro-modeling in natural resource-rich economies. Before joining the World Bank, Mr. Zeufack taught economics and applied econometrics at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, where he received his Ph.D. in economics. He holds a master’s degree in economic analysis and policy from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.


  • Place: Online
  • Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2020
  • Time: 12:30 - 2:00 PM (ET)