African countries had to spend billions to manage COVID-19 in 2021

 In analysis, infographic, Social Media

Updated Every Month

Our infographic series has demonstrated that in a number of ways, African countries are continuing to act in a globally responsible manner to manage COVID-19 despite constrained circumstances. This month, we uncover the finance that is still being spent to address COVID-19 and its effects, especially given the need for social distancing, and the number of people the financial measures have reached.

As a whole, we estimate that African countries have allocated $63 billion in their national budgets to COVID-19 in the 2020-2021 financial year alone, representing 2.3% of African GDP. While it demonstrates the significant resources that have had to continue to be channelled into managing the pandemic, despite the fact that African governments have many other priorities, and huge financing gaps, from infrastructure to education, it also represents a fall of almost 8% of spending compared to 2020. It also remains considerably lower than other regions and countries across the world.

As was the case in 2020, African governments have allocated the $62bn across healthcare, social safety nets and business support, as well as – in some countries – targeted support to women and girls. The key new budget line in 2021 however, has been vaccines. To date, despite receiving some donations, we estimate that African countries have nevertheless had to spend a total of $8.4 billion on vaccine procurement and as a result, have reached over 337 million African people for vaccination. However, vaccine distribution remains concentrated within 10 countries that represent 70% of all vaccine distribution.

Furthermore, while we estimate that the $62 billion of African government’s pro-poor expenditure has reached over 201 million people in total in 2021, this expenditure is a significant resource drain for many African economies and could be spent elsewhere. The African Development Bank estimated that in 2020-21, African governments would need additional financing of over $150 billion to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. While our estimates suggest they have collectively reached close to this total ($130 billion), the hope was that at least some international support would be provided to cover this. Instead, International assistance to reach this goal continues to lag, for example in the 2021 SDR reallocation of $650 billion, African countries only received $33 billion, and most of this was concentrated in the most relatively wealthy African countries. Bilateral partners, development banks and the IMF have not stepped up enough either. For example, since the start of the pandemic, the World Bank has only committed (not spent) $39 billion USD to African countries, including for vaccines.

So what does this imply for 2022?

It is imperative for African countries to continue to invest in measures that will curb the spread to COVID-19 and tackle community transmission of new variants without shutting down economies. So far, the central mechanisms to do this are through vaccine procurement and social distancing.

When it comes to vaccines, African countries have faced a lack of supply caused by vaccine inequity and hoarding. African countries have now distributed over 60% of their vaccine supply and countries such as Egypt, Morocco, and Mozambique have distributed over 80% of their procured vaccines. And yet, 90% of African people remain unvaccinated. It is imperative to increase mechanisms for African governments to procure and distribute vaccines cheaply to reach those who remain unvaccinated, and in particular to reach the countries with the lowest level of vaccinations AND the largest development financing gaps.

Finally as far as social distancing in 2022 is concerned, countries need to be able to continue to support citizens, SMEs and larger firms as well as stimulate new channels of economic activity and services – such as  e-commerce, digital education for school children, digital healthcare, and more.

So where will the finance – the fiscal space – for this come from – at or more than 2020 and 2021 levels?

With 2022 economic growth rates for African countries forecast by the IMF at a low average 3.7%, – itself due to slow recovery from low vaccine access, it is unlikely the finance can come from domestic resources. Meanwhile, African countries are continued to be penalised for their spending, despite their diligence to date. For example, Ghana has just been downgraded by credit ratings agencies for its debt rising to 82% of GDP. However as, Development Reimagined research has demonstrated, assessments of debt quality is essential to understanding a country’s debt distress risk.

The fact is, African government’s spending on COVID-19 is essential to providing protection to communities and mitigation for the social and economic impact of the crisis. Can Africa’s financial partners step up? Let’s see.

To review the data yourself, check out the graphics and numbers below, and do let us know what you conclude, and what you’d like us to find out next time.

To find out how Development Reimagined can support you, your organisation or Government during the COVID-19 outbreak please email the team at clients@developmentreimagined.com .

Special thanks go to Rosie Flowers-Wanjie, Osaru Omosigho, David Tinashe Nyagweta and Jing Cai for their work on the graphics and collecting/analysing the underlying data and this accompanying article.

The data was collated primarily from Africa CDC, as well as other sources including: government websites and media reports, the IMF policy tracker;  Worldometer and the New York Times Vaccine Tracker. Our methodology is entirely in-house, based on analysis of vaccine, testing, spending, social distancing, income categories and other trends.

If you spot any gaps or have any enquiries, please send your feedback to us at team@developmentreimagined.com, we will aim to respond asap.

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

EDMOND BOSILONG

Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

HANNAH RYDER

Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

LEAH LYNCH

Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.

YIKE FU

China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.

JUDITH MWAI

Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.

OVIGWE EGUEGU

Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.

JING CAI

Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.

PATRICK ANAM

Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.

ROSIE FLOWERS

Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

JADE SCARFE

Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.

ROSIE WIGMORE

Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.

LAUREN ASHMORE

Consultant

Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.

ETSEHIWOT KEBRET

Consultant

Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.

DIBEKULU MULU

Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.

OSARU OMOSIGHO

Research Analyst

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.

PIER FERDINANDO CINOTTO

Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.

DAVID TINASHE NYAGWETA

Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds B.com Economics and Statistics and M.com respectively.

IVORY KAIRO

Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.

JOY ENE

Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.

CHENSI LI

Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.