Described as an unprecedented threat to development, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause significant damage to African economies. The IMF has forecast a contraction in GDP growth of 1.6 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 – its lowest on record – followed by a projected recovery of 4.1 per cent growth in 2021.
However, major uncertainties remain. As containment and suppression measures are lifted and economies begin to reopen, added public health risks and pressures to already strained fiscal and healthcare response capacities will increase the imperative for well-designed and efficiently delivered support mechanisms from development partners. Temporary debt relief has featured prominently, but wider coordinated multilateral responses are also critical.

Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund, discusses the levers available to support African countries as they navigate the crisis, expectations of African governments and development partners, and prospects ahead.


Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)Chair: Elizabeth Donnelly, Deputy Director, Africa Programme, Chatham House