07 OCTOBER 2020 | Business Day
In this edition of African Business podcast we speak to Abebe Aemro Selassie about the outlook for African economies in the wake of the pandemic. Selassie is the director of the African department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a position he has held since 2016.
In this capacity, he oversees the IMF’s operations and engagement with 45 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, spanning the three main pillars of IMF work: policy advice, lending operations, and technical assistance.
His responsibilities also include building strategic partnerships and dialogue with senior policymakers and institutions across the region.
We speak to Selassie about the contemporary role of the IMF in the global economy and in Africa. We also discuss his career path to the IMF and how that has influenced his vision and priorities for the continent.
Selassie highlights the importance of acknowledging long-tail risks such as climate change and epidemics, and what the epidemic has done to our mental geography of the global economy and its outlook.
We also look at the African opportunity and how resilient the public health response on the continent has been.
Selassie gives some suggestions on what the priorities of governments should be now, particularly in digital and green opportunities.
Finally we discuss the implications of the IMF Covid-19 support packages that have been extended to two of Africa’s major economies and geopolitically strategic countries, Nigeria and SA, which have received relief from the IMF in light of the pandemic of $3.4bn and $4.3bn each. Selassie remains an optimist and continues to believe that this is the African Century.