Boosting sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and jobs

IMF economy ATRSub-Saharan Africa’s policies should focus on increasing agricultural output and strengthening households’ ability to withstand shocks, crucial for reducing inequalities while boosting economic growth and jobs, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The sub-Saharan is particularly vulnerable to the forces of climate change. Almost half the population lives below the poverty line and depends on rain-fed agriculture, herding, and fishing to survive . With each climate shock, whether drought, flood or cyclone, farmers suffer directly, while shortages elevate the price of food for all.

Even before the pandemic, many countries in the region were proactive in protecting their food supply by raising crop productivity and reducing their sensitivity to inclement weather. For example, Mozambique is the location of a global pilot for newly-developed, heat-tolerant bean seeds, while in Ethiopia, some farmers’ yields rose by up to 40 pe rcent after the development of rust-resistant wheat varieties (rust is brought on by higher temperatures and volatile rainfall). Maintaining this momentum calls for continued progress in improving irrigation, seeds, and erosion protection, all of which would substantially boost production. Meanwhile raising farmers’ awareness would also accelerate implementation of these measures.

Concentrating adaptation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa on policies that have outsized impacts, including on food security, will help reduce their costs. Implementation of these strategies will be expensive—US$30bn–US$50bn. 

IMF's analysis finds that savings from reduced post-disaster spending could be many times the cost of upfront investment in building resilience and coping mechanisms. Securing sources of financing is especially challenging against the background of the pandemic and rising global risk aversion. But by stepping up financial support for adaptation to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa, development partners can make a tremendous difference in helping Africans put food on the table and recover from the pandemic.

 

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