The report, which was launched today in Dakar, on the sidelines of the 54th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, pointed out that Egypt, along with Mauritius and Seychelles, were the African countries that experienced the least increase in poverty and fragility, thanks to their high ability to manage risks and crises.
The Economic Report for Africa for the year 2021 – which was launched today under the title “Combating Poverty and Fragility in Africa during the Covid 19 Pandemic – added that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on poverty differed from one country to another according to the response and efforts of governments, explaining that the countries that were originally less poor and fragile are Countries that have had the capacity to adequately create jobs, have an educated workforce and a strong infrastructure capable of supporting the digital economy.
Hanan Morsi, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, indicated that the report analyzes the impact of Covid on poverty, not only for those below the poverty line, but also for those close to poverty.
She added that African countries need mechanisms to finance social protection, as well as debt relief, debt service and mitigating the impact of macroeconomic challenges, pointing to the efforts that have been made with regard to poverty reduction across the continent.
The authors of the report pointed out that the economy in Africa contracted by 3.2% during 2020, which led to the fall of 55 million people under the poverty line, and the progress achieved over two decades of poverty reduction efforts declined.
The report’s authors also pointed out that there are 15 African countries that may find themselves suffering from worsening debt, and that new countries, including Ethiopia and Nigeria, have become poor countries as a result of the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that women are the most vulnerable to poverty.
The authors of the UN report stressed that the margin for maneuvering budgets to reduce poverty is narrow, calling for improving management and strengthening resilience, adopting social protection targeting specific groups, improving access to the labor market, promoting youth employment and providing social assistance to the most vulnerable people.
They also called for improving health services, improving infrastructure in this sector, training its workers, ensuring equitable access to health care services among the entire population, and building a system to respond to future health emergencies.