COVID-19: Africa to lose 30 million jobs by end of 2020 – Akinwumi Adesina

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President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says up to 30 million jobs will be lost in Africa by the end of 2020.

According to the former Nigerian Agriculture minister, the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic earlier this year dealt a terrible blow to the economies of African countries.

He spoke on Friday at the ‘Virtual 2020 International Forum on African Leadership’ in Ivory Coast.

Adesina said, “The negative impacts on economies have been massive. The African Development Bank estimates that Africa’s GDP will decline by $173-236 billion by the end of the year. Africa’s economic growth rate is expected to decline by 3.4 per cent.

“The world has become more fragile as we all face common existential risks. All are affected, developed, and developing countries. There’s no coronavirus for developed countries and coronavirus for developing countries.

“The pandemic has further laid bare the divide in the labour market. Those with skills are able to keep their jobs, while low-skilled workers, especially those employed in the informal sector lost jobs, worsened by the lockdowns. It is estimated that up to 30 million jobs will be lost in Africa by the end of the year.”

He urged African countries including Nigeria not to rely on debt for recovery but instead, better manage the revenue streams from their abundant natural resources.

Adesina further stated, “Building back African economies with resilience requires addressing its high debt levels. Total outstanding debt on the continent is over $700 billion.

“The lesson for Africa is clear: Africa simply cannot accelerate its development by relying only on debt, especially expensive bilateral and commercial debt. Africa must grow by mobilising domestic resources.

“Africa will build back faster by also harnessing and better managing the revenue streams from its abundant natural resources, including minerals, metals, biodiversity, blue economy, forest resources, agriculture and oil, and gas, in order to boost domestic savings.”

“Africa must build back by focusing sharply on food and nutritional security. For many, the risk of hunger is higher than COVID-19. Without food, medicines, or vaccines don’t work. There is vaccination against COVID-19, but there is no vaccination against hunger,” he added.

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