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Podcast May 21, 2020

AFRONOMICS - A Podcast Series

16. Coordinating Public Health Responses to COVID-19 feat. Dr. John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC

The COVID-19 pandemic is having severe public health, economic and social impacts around the world, and Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called this public health emergency a “looming disaster” for the African continent. The Africa CDC has been at the forefront of limiting the health impact of the pandemic, coordinating efforts of member states, sourcing medical equipment globally and locally for countries on the continent, and providing guidelines on how countries can implement social distancing measures among other efforts. Delivering this mandate within the varying contexts of African countries is not without its challenges. Host Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for the Africa Region at the World Bank, invites Dr. Nkengasong to tell us about the measures they are taking to fight the pandemic under these circumstances.

 

15. Afronomics: The Economic Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic is only just beginning to take hold in Sub-Saharan Africa, but it is already having a huge impact. The World Bank’s recent Africa’s Pulse report found that COVID-19 is likely to drive Sub-Saharan Africa into its first recession in 25 years, with growth potentially falling as low as negative 5.1% in 2020. The crisis is likely to push millions of households into poverty. Food security is at risk because of trade disruptions, lower agricultural production and fewer food imports. And with 90 percent of people working in informal jobs, it is harder to reach workers with the support they need. African countries need resources today to help contain and combat this pandemic, and to safeguard lives and livelihoods. The big question is: what can be done? Host Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for the Africa Region at the World Bank, invites Acha Leke, the Chairman of McKinsey’s Africa Region, to discuss what individuals, governments, and companies can do to help African countries and African people pull through.

 

14.Ten Years of Africa’s Progress

Ten years ago, the world was fighting its way out of a global financial crisis, but prospects were strong for Sub-Saharan Africa to quickly recover. The World Bank started publishing Africa’s Pulse at that time, as a vehicle to help us track these trends and put the economic and development outlook squarely on the agenda for our discussions with African leaders and our partners.
Over the last decade, we have been riding the wave of the “Africa Rising” narrative through the economic ups and downs in the region, including a regional crisis that stopped progress in its tracks in the middle of the decade, from which many countries are still recovering.
We published the 20th edition of Africa’s Pulse in October, and as we close the decade, host Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for the Africa Region at the World Bank, invites colleagues Shanta Devarajan, Punam Chuhan-Pole, and Cesar Calderon, who have led this important work over the last ten years.

 

13.What will it take to accelerate poverty reduction in Africa?

Despite the incredible progress that so many African countries have made, poverty remains a defining part of the narrative around Africa. While the share of people living in extreme poverty has come down in the last decades, the number of people has gone up, due to rapid population growth during the same period, to reach nearly 416 million people. If left unchecked, extreme poverty in the world will become almost exclusively an African issue by 2030, in just ten years. In this episode of Afronomics, Albert Zeufack welcomes Kathleen Beegle and Luc Christiaensen, the main authors of a new World Bank study on Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa, to discuss what needs to be done differently to fight poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For more information, access the full study here: openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32354

 

12.The Future of Work in Africa: The Role of Social Protection

The 2019 World Development Report focused on the Future of Work on a global scale, highlighting the real tension between job losses in “old” manufacturing sectors that are susceptible to automation, and potential job gains driven by innovation in “new” sectors. Our Africa-focused companion report, released in July 2019, finds that Africa has a chance to take a different path – if governments and businesses can take advantage of digital technologies, and if the right policies and investments are in place.
Part two of this two-part podcast examines the role of social protection in helping workers, especially the most vulnerable, transition into the jobs and technologies of the future. Host Albert Zeufack welcomes Zainab Usman, Social Scientist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank, and co-author of the World Bank’s recent Future of Work in Africa report.

 

11.The Future of Work in Africa: Can digital technologies really work for all?

The 2019 World Development Report focused on the Future of Work on a global scale, highlighting the real tension between job losses in “old” manufacturing sectors that are susceptible to automation, and potential job gains driven by innovation in “new” sectors. Our Africa-focused companion report, released in July 2019, finds that Africa has a chance to take a different path – if governments and businesses can take advantage of digital technologies, and if the right policies and investments are in place.
Part one of this two-part podcast looks at what’s different about the future of work in Africa compared to the rest of the world, and digs in to the potential of digital technologies to improve livelihoods and create jobs for all kinds of workers. Host Albert Zeufack welcomes Mark Dutz, Lead Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank, and co-author of the World Bank’s recent Future of Work in Africa report.

 

10.Analyzing Inequality in Africa

Discussions on Sub-Saharan Africa often center on extreme poverty: the subcontinent is home to half of the world’s extreme poor, and the number of people living in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa keeps going up even though the rates of extreme poverty have declined. At the same time, on a continent as economically diverse as Sub-Saharan Africa, the issue of inequality cannot be ignored. Eight of the ten most unequal countries in the world, when looking at the Gini coefficient, are in Sub-Saharan Africa, and gaps persist when digging deeper into wage inequality, inequality of opportunity, and other areas where the playing field is far from level. There are no easy answers to reducing inequality, but several countries have taken positive steps to make their societies and economies more equitable.
In this episode of Afronomics, Albert welcomes Haroon Bhorat, Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Global Economy and Development Program and the Africa Growth Initiative. His research focuses on labor economics, poverty, and income distribution, and this episode of Afronomics takes a closer look at his recent work on wage inequality in South Africa as part of the broader discussion on inequality in Africa.

 

9.M-Pesa and the rise of digital financial services in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the share of adults with a mobile money account now exceeds 10 percent. That mobile revolution began in Kenya. In this episode of Afronomics, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, speaks with Professor Njuguna Ndung’u who is currently the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium and was the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya from 2007 to 2015.
During Prof. Ndung’u’s tenure as Central Bank governor, Kenya stepped up as a global leader in financial inclusion. This was driven by the path-breaking M-Pesa program, which made mobile payments and mobile banking the norm for Kenyans everywhere.

 

8.Rwanda tops Africa in CPIA ratings

In 2017, nearly third of the 38 African countries that receive the IDA concessional window, strengthened their policy and institutional quality compared to 2016.
This is one of the findings of the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment. The CPIA, as it is called, is an annual assessment by the World Bank of the quality and institutional framework of African countries and their ability to support sustainable growth and poverty reduction. CPIA scores are composed of development indicators in four areas: economic management; structural policies; social inclusion and equity and public-sector management and institutions.
Scores are used to determine the allocation of zero finance grants from IDA, so a better score indicator has an implication for more funding under better terms the countries can use for development.
In this Afronomics, Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa Region, Albert Zeufack, speaks with report author, Punam Chuhan-Pole about policy improvements; policy declines and the African countries that are global examples of effective policy reform that enables positive growth and development.

 

7.Protecting West Africa’s Coastal Economies

Today, there are about 120 million people living along the coast of West Africa who are threatened by coastal erosion and flooding on a daily basis. Large areas of coast line have disappeared, and with them houses, factories and roads. The economic losses are staggering. About 42% of West Africa’s GDP is generated along these same coastal areas. Preserving and protecting these fragile habitats makes dollars… and sense.
To learn more, please visit: www.worldbank.org/waca

 

6.Africa’s Pulse Spring Edition Part 2: Access to Energy in Africa

Part Two of our discussion on Africa’s Pulse focusses on how African countries can improve access to electricity to accelerate progress in development outcomes, jobs and prosperity. We’re speaking with special topic author, Mike Toman, and member of the core team of economists who crafted the report, Moussa Blimpo.
Technical innovations, especially in solar power, provide the possibility for faster progress in electricity provision by complementing grid expansion with mini-grids and home-scale systems. However, in sorting through various possibilities for accelerated electrification, it is important to keep in mind that national electrification strategies generally seek to address several development objectives.
These include facilitating accelerated income growth and job creation, and improving lives and livelihoods in more remote areas, as well as limiting environmental and health damages from providing electricity.
On the one hand, to accomplish this range of objectives, given the changes in generation technology and the expectation of rapid future growth in electricity demand, the evolution of electricity systems in Sub-Saharan Africa will need to involve more than one national grid. The path to universal electrification also will incorporate interconnected or stand-alone “mini-grids” and “micro-grids” serving small concentrations of electricity users, and off-grid home-scale systems. On the other hand, as rural populations continue to migrate to rapidly growing urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, economies of scale and density will lower the costs of grid-supplied power in urban and peri-urban areas.

 

5. Africas Pulse Spring Edition Part 1: The State of African Economies

Part One of our discussion on Africa’s Pulse focusses on recent economic developments, how the external environment is impacting the continent’s growth and what the economic forecast looks like over the next few months. We’re speaking with Punam Chuhan Pole, who is the lead author of the report. Africa’s Pulse is a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank’s Africa Region.

 

4.Africa's Pulse: A moderate recovery and the skills of the future

Join World Bank Chief Economist for Africa Albert Zeufack for a discussion with lead economists Punam Chuhan-Pole, David Evans, and Cesar Calderon on the most recent economic trends that are impacting growth and development on the continent. Together they review the latest findings of the region’s flagship report, Africa's Pulse. This issue includes a special focus on Africa’s skills agenda and takes an in-depth look at the progress made so far and what more can be done by countries and development organizations to ensure African citizens have the skills for the jobs of the future.

 

3.Africa Leapfrogging through a Growth Mindset

In this edition of Afronomics, World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, Albert Zeufack, speaks with Dr. Zaki Khoury of Microsoft at the Investing in Africa Forum in Dakar, Senegal. Dr. Zaki Khoury leads Microsoft with International, Multi-lateral, and Bi-lateral Organizations, across Middle East and Africa.

 

2.ITechpreneurship in Africa

Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa Region, Albert Zeufack, chats with Silicon Valley’s Kamran Elahian about the power of disruptive technologies when it comes to development in Africa. For Elahian, disruptive technologies coupled with ramped up broadband and electricity access opens up the democratizing force of the internet to men and women equally, empowering them to come up with the solutions of the future.

 

1.Africa’s Pulse: Focus on Closing the Infrastructure Gap to Increase Growth

World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, Albert Zeufack, and Africa’s Pulse Lead author, Punam Chuhan Pole, discuss the most recent Africa’ Pulse report. In this issue the Pulse tackles Sub-Saharan Africa’s projected moderate growth of 2.6 percent, which should strengthen somewhat in 2018, helped by improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and domestic conditions. However, there is a need to spur investment in infrastructure, energy production and roads, without losing the hard won battle against debt in poor countries. Albert and Punam discuss the ways that countries can increase investment to achieve their goals and reduce poverty.