It now seems quite clear to everyone that in this global crisis Africa will face the first recession of the contemporary era.
As confirmed by the World Bank in its “Africa’s Pulse” report, a decrease of between -2.1 and -5.1% is expected.
Oltremare, a magazine of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics), thus opens one of its recent services: “The numbers confirm what is already easy to imagine. The latest data from the World Bank, which foresees the first recession of the last 25 years for the African continent, may suffice.
“The covid-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies around the world and African countries are at risk of being hit particularly hard,” said Hafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for Africa, commenting on the document. .
Coronavirus can also cause a variety of chain damage. For example, it could set in motion a food security crisis in Africa, with agricultural production contracting between 2.6% and 7%. Food imports will also drop dramatically, up to 25% are expected.
There is not only the World Bank, however, which has expressed itself in this regard. Some African intellectuals addressed an open letter to all heads of state on the African continent. The first signatory of this letter is the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, followed by 99 other academics.
Here is a passage from the letter: “The challenge with which we are called to measure ourselves is nothing other than the restoration of the intellectual freedom and creativity of the continent: in the absence of these, any discourse on sovereignty proves inconceivable. The challenge is to break with the outsourcing of our sovereign prerogatives, reconnect with local configurations, abandon sterile imitation, adapt science, technology and research to our context, redesigning institutions on the basis of our specificities and resources, adopting an inclusive governance framework and endogenous development, to create value here, in order to reduce our systemic dependence “.
In the same letter, the intellectuals continue by recalling how Africa has sufficient material and human resources to build shared prosperity on an equal basis and with respect for everyone’s dignity: “The lack of political will and the extractive practices of external actors can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction. We have no more choice: we need a radical change of direction. Now is the time! ”
In conclusion, that of the crisis and African potential is an important issue on which many thinkers, politicians and institutions are dwelling. The coronavirus pandemic has opened a real Pandora’s box, bringing to light the shortcomings that Africa’s development model has and which should instead be filled.