En 2014 nous avons repris la direction de l’hôpital gynéco-obstétrique et pédiatrique de Yaoundé (HGOPY). Nous avons récupéré une institution confrontée à un endettement structurel chronique, avec de nombreux équipements et locaux vétustes. Aucun plan d’amortissement de la dette n’avait été mis en place et les dépenses non compressibles telles que les salaires et avantages des personnels étaient très élevés.
Ce genre de situation était malheureusement fréquent dans de nombreux établissements qui ont subi de plein fouet la crise économique et sociale qui a suivi l’ajustement structurel dans les pays africains. Le système de santé n’a pas été en reste. La décision d’augmenter les tarifs des prestations médicales a pénalisé les plus pauvres et limité leur accès aux soins de santé. Cela n’a pas tardé à avoir des conséquences sur les taux de mortalité maternelle et infantile qui ont augmenté.
Pour faire face à cette situation, les pays africains ont signé en 2000 la Déclaration d’Abuja, les engageant à consacrer au moins 15% de leur budget national à la santé. Au-delà de l’objectif de l’accès universel aux soins, le secteur devait améliorer sa performance, son efficacité et son efficience.
We took over the management of the obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatric hospital in Yaoundé (HGOPY) in 2014, inheriting an institution that faced chronic structural debt, obsolete equipment, and dilapidated buildings. No debt repayment plan was in place and fixed expenses such as staff salaries and benefits were extremely high.
This situation was regrettably common in many institutions across Africa which were hit hard by the economic and social crisis that resulted from structural adjustment policies implemented in by several countries, including Cameroon. Furthermore, the decision to increase health care charges adversely affected the poorest, limiting their access to health care and leading to a rise in maternal and infant mortality rates.
In response, African countries signed the Abuja Declaration in 2000, committing to earmark at least 15% of their national budget to the health sector. In addition to the goal of providing universal health care, the sector was expected to enhance the performance, effectiveness, and efficiency of its services.
Ugandan’s access to financial services has improved dramatically in recent years. More than half of Uganda’s adult population now has access to an account at a formal financial institution. This is almost twice as many as in 2009. The entry and fast penetration of mobile money is the main reason for the increase, having allowed 8 million Ugandans to conduct financial transactions.
The year 2016 was difficult for many countries. We estimate that global economic growth slowed from 2.7% in 2015 to 2.3% in 2016. High-income economies struggled with subdued growth and low inflation amidst increased uncertainty about policy direction in light of rising populism. Among emerging markets and developing economies, commodity exporters were most affected by the end of the commodity price boom, growing by only 0.3%—much in line with our estimate of 0.4% growth for South Africa, the lowest growth rate since the 2009 recession after the global financial crisis. By contrast, commodity importers carried the torch of global growth in 2016, expanding by 5.6%.
The recent decline in global commodity prices is proving to be very costly for South Africa. The deterioration of South Africa’s terms of trade since 2012 cost at least four percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This estimate does not account for some important indirect effects generated by the commodity price shock, including the heightened volatility of the rand and its impact on investment decisions. Instead of global monetary policy developments, commodity price volatility is now understood as being the main driver of exchange rate and capital account volatility in South Africa, and in emerging markets more generally. And 91% of European investors surveyed in the second half of 2014 identified the volatility of the rand as a major constraint to doing business in South Africa.
Au Togo, les familles placent souvent des talismans à l’extérieur de leurs maisons, face à l’océan Atlantique, espérant que leurs pouvoirs magiques ou spirituels supposés les protègeront des vagues qui pénètrent toujours plus loin dans les terres.
Cela n’a hélas pas sauvé ces dizaines de villages dévorés par les flots depuis le milieu des années 1990. Les coques de bateaux, remplies de souvenirs sur des côtes qui perdent chaque année jusqu’à 5 à 10 mètres de terrain, sont devenues impropres à toute activité rémunératrice. Les anciens habitants qui viennent en pèlerinage sur les lieux de leur enfance restent abasourdis en constatant que la mer a littéralement englouti des communautés entières.
Togolese families often place talismans, thought to contain magical or spiritual properties, outside their homes facing the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of protecting their dwellings from encroaching tides.
Unfortunately, dozens of villages have been devoured since the mid-1990s, leaving behind shells of houses, livelihoods and memories in the wake of a coast receding as much as 5-10 meters per year. When expatriates return to Togo’s coast to visit their childhood homes, they are astonished to see that communities have literally washed out to sea.
Agriculture is at the heart of addressing poverty in Africa. I was reminded of that during my recent trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where different stakeholders had gathered to explore how to transform smallholder agriculture for growth. The recent End Poverty Day activities in Africa, which focused largely on agriculture, was also a reminder of how central the sector is to ending poverty and boosting prosperity. Indeed, the different stakeholders I work with on a daily basis—which includes African governments, development partners, civil societies, the private sector and farmers—all agree: Agriculture is important to the future of Africa.
Like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Eastern and Southern Africa region has seen significant economic growth in recent years, largely relying on agriculture and extractives. However, it hasn’t been able to keep up with the skilled labor demanded by the region’s required economic transformation for further growth. Surveys reveal that firms in the region now face acute challenges in developing research and development (R&D) capacity and filling technical and managerial positions – not just due to inadequate production of college graduates that have been rising over the years, but also due to low quality and relevance of current education and training at the tertiary level.