July 14, 2024

War in Ukraine impacting Africa’s economic recovery, warns IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva meets staff on her first day at the IMF in October 2019 and takes part in FaceBook Live interview
Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva meets staff on her first day at the IMF in October 2019 and takes part in FaceBook Live interview

The devastating war in Ukraine is already impacting Africa’s economic recovery, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva warned on Thursday.

Georgieva’s dire warning came when she met with African Ministers of Finance, African central bank governors, and representatives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to discuss the impact of the crisis in Ukraine.

“The war in Ukraine comes at a delicate time for Africa. Just as the global economy and the continent are beginning to recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new crisis threatens to undo some of that progress,” Geiorgieva wrote in a statement at the end of the meeting, adding that they discussed how to sustain “Africa’s somewhat delayed recovery despite new headwinds.”

She said Africa “is particularly vulnerable to impacts from the Ukraine war through four main channels — increased food prices, higher fuel prices, lower tourism revenues, and potentially more difficult access to international capital markets.”

Georgieva said she was “encouraged by the strong interest from African policymakers in continuing our dialogue on policy responses, Fund financing, and increased capacity development. I also noted significant concerns about limited domestic policy space to sustainably address the ongoing crises.”

“A recalibration of policies appears inevitable in many countries. At this difficult moment, the Fund stands ready to help African countries reduce the cost of any needed policy adjustments through policy advice, capacity development, and lending. Recent reforms to the Fund’s lending toolkit provide greater flexibility to help meet financing needs. I was also pleased by the strong interest from African countries in the proposed Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which we plan to have fully operational by the end of this year,” she said.

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