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Focus on Africa: hunger, energy, climate - and the path to growth

Sub-Saharan Africa was on the brink of economic recovery last year. Now, the World Bank expects its growth to slow in 2023. With global inflation on the rise, rising food and fuel costs “actually put lives at risk in a way few other shocks can," says International Monetary Fund (IMF) senior economist Andrew Tiffin.

And sub-Saharan Africa is particularly vulnerable: 123 million people there are currently food-insecure, while the region accounts for 6% of the global energy demand. With climate change exponentially leading to those numbers rising, Tiffin says: “Any globally viable discussion has to take into account Africa’s concerns and needs. Because without that, there is simply no solution.”


The IMF’s latest analysis and growth projections for sub-Saharan Africa were released in a new report, available here: https://imf.org/AfricaREO-Oct22

Tiffin spoke in a Global Stage interview with Shari Friedman, Eurasia Group's managing director for Climate and Sustainability, at the World Bank/IMF fall meetings in Washington, DC.

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Kailash Satyarthi: Child labor increased during COVID

The pandemic not only took kids out of school. It also pushed many into the workforce. COVID raised the demand for children as the cheapest source of labor, Nobel laureate and human rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi says during a Global Stage livestream conversation. Indeed, it's the first team we're going back on meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 8 target on ending child labor.

The perils of depending on food imports: UN Foundation chief

We all know there's a global food crisis due to the impact of shortages of Russian and Ukrainian grain, fertilizers, and fuel. But UN Foundation chief Elizabeth Cousens thinks high prices are hurting some countries even more. While addressing famine is the top priority, Cousens says in a Global Stage livestream conversation that the long-term plan should be "laying the foundation for a much more resilient, equitable food system."

No internet, no education, says Vickie Robinson

The pandemic accelerated the shift to digital. But that left behind those offline, widening the digital access gap — with big implications for education. Vickie Robinson, general manager of Microsoft's Airband Initiative, recalls how she dealt with school closing as a mother. Having in-home connectivity helped her children transition from middle to high school with some sense of normalcy. But two-thirds of school-aged kids around the world didn't have that opportunity, she says during a Global Stage livestream conversation.

Is the world on the brink of another global recession?

The global economy's 2023 outlook is ... bleak. Why? Ayhan Kose, the World Bank’s chief economist for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions, says that unlike the 2009 and 2020 global recessions, next year's likely slowdown in economic activity — coupled with growing inflation — could be more like the one of 1982, which also came with a string of debt crises.

Overcoming inefficiency with education

Lack of investment in education is often regarded as a structural problem in low-income nations. Leonardo Garnier, a special adviser for the UN's Transforming Education Summit, knows why. Countries with an ample supply of cheap labor tend to get investments from businesses whose profits depend on that. Not to increase productivity, not to spur tech innovation, and definitely not to create a highly educated workforce. The result, Garnier explains during a Global Stage livestream conversation, is forever low wages and stagnant productivity.

Digital Equity