Africa urged to Accelerate Recovery Efforts to Tackle Rising Poverty

ADDIS ABABA – Africa should step up inclusive recovery efforts to prevent more vulnerable people from falling below poverty line due to global crises, as per the top Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) official.

The continent is grappling with the impact of the shocks caused by COVID -19, the war in Ukraine and climate change.

In his press briefing on Monday, ECA’s Acting executive secretary Antonio Pedro said the adverse impacts of global shocks are pushing more people into extreme poverty.

“Africa is falling even further behind, with the continent now accounting for the highest proportion of the world’s poor of any region globally,” Pedro warned.

The warning comes ahead of the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM 2023) which will be held on March 20 and 21.

“efforts must be pro-poor”

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed an additional 55 million people below the poverty line. The impact of the war in Ukraine is expected to further compound the challenge.

Ways to withstand these and other challenges are expected to be explored during the ministerial discussions in Addis Ababa.

Pedro said recovery efforts have to be pro-poor and does not leave anyone behind”. “If we do so then the social contract that is key to have stability and prosperity will be completely disrupted,” he warned.

More than 546 million people in Africa are living in poverty, according to ECA’s estimates.

‘Promoting local solutions key’

As per Pedro, declining economic growth, narrowing fiscal space, rising debt, and commodity shocks “severely constrained” Africa countries’ capacity “to effectively tackle poverty”.

Africa’s trade flows and supply chains were also disrupted, he said, adding that it was pertinent for Africa to promote local solutions akin to the creation of the Africa Exchange Trade Platform (ATEX).

The digital platform was created during the pandemic to boost trade in critical commodities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Africa, he said, has also considerable opportunities to build strong, resilient and competitive economies through accelerated implementation of the AfCFTA.

The development of carbon credit markets, fostering the emergency of regional value chains in the battery and electric vehicle subsector are also among the opportunities proposed by the acting executive Secretary of the ECA.