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The effects of the war in Ukraine leave policymakers with little room to maneuver. 

Sub-Saharan African countries find themselves facing another severe and exogenous shock. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a surge in food and fuel prices that threatens the region’s economic outlook. This latest setback could not have come at a worse time—as growth was starting to recover and policymakers were beginning to address the social and economic legacy of COVID-19 pandemic and other development challenges. The effects of the war will be deeply consequential, eroding standards of living and aggravating macroeconomic imbalances.

We now expect growth to slow to 3.8 percent this year from last year’s better-than-expected 4.5 percent, according to our latest Regional Economic Outlook. Though we project annual growth to average 4 percent over the medium term, it will be too slow to make up for ground lost to the pandemic. Inflation in the region is expected to remain elevated in 2022 and 2023 at 12.2 percent and 9.6 percent respectively—the first time since 2008 that regional average inflation will reach such high levels.

There are three main channels through which the war is impacting countries—with notable differentiation both across and within countries:

  • Prices for food, which accounts for about 40 percent of consumer spending in the region, are rising rapidly. Around 85 percent of the region’s wheat supplies are imported. Higher fuel and fertilizer prices also affect domestic food production. Together, these factors will disproportionately hurt the poor, especially in urban areas, and will increase food insecurity.
  • Higher oil prices will boost the import bill for the region’s oil importers by about $19 billion, worsening trade imbalances and raising transport and other consumer costs. Oil-importing fragile states will be hit hardest, with fiscal balances expected to deteriorate by around 0.8 percent of gross domestic product compared to the October 2021 forecast —twice that of other oil-importing countries. The region’s eight petroleum exporters, however, benefit from higher crude prices.
  • The shock is set to make an already delicate fiscal balancing act more difficult: increasing development spending, mobilizing more tax revenues, and containing debt pressures. Fiscal authorities generally aren’t well-positioned for additional shocks after the pandemic. Half of the region’s low-income countries are already in or at high risk of distress. Rising oil prices also represent a direct fiscal cost for countries through fuel subsidies, while inflation will make reducing these subsidies unpopular. Spending pressures will only increase as growth slows, while rising interest rates in advanced economies may make financing more costly and harder to obtain for some governments.

Countries need a careful policy response to address these daunting challenges. Fiscal policy will need to be targeted to avoid adding to debt vulnerabilities. Policymakers should as much as possible use direct transfers to protect the most vulnerable households. Improving access to finance for farmers and small businesses would also help.

Countries that can’t provide targeted transfers can use temporary subsidies or targeted tax reductions, with clear end dates. If well-designed, they can protect households by providing time to adjust to international prices more gradually. To enhance resilience to future crises, it remains important for these countries to develop effective social safety nets. Digital technology, such as mobile money or smart cards, could be used to better target social transfers, as Togo did during the pandemic.

Net commodity-importers, such as Benin, Ethiopia and Malawi, will need to find resources to protect the vulnerable by reprioritizing spending. Net exporters, like Nigeria, are likely to benefit from rising oil prices, but a fiscal gain is only possible if the fuel subsidies they provide are contained. It is important that windfalls are largely directed to strengthen policy buffers, supported by strong fiscal institutions such as a credible medium-term fiscal framework and a strong public financial management system.

To navigate the trade-off between curbing inflation and supporting growth, central banks will need to monitor price developments carefully and raise interest rates if inflation expectations drift up. They must also guard against the financial stability risks posed by higher rates and maintain a credible policy framework underpinned by strong independence and clear communication.

The need for international solidarity

The international community must step up to ease the food security crisis. The IMF’s recent joint statement with the World Bank, the United Nations World Food Programme and the World Trade Organization called for emergency food supplies, financial support, including grants, increased agricultural production and unhindered trade, among other measures.

Following through on the commitment by Group of Twenty countries to re-channel $100 billion of their IMF Special Drawing Rights allocation to vulnerable countries would be a major contribution to the region’s short-term liquidity needs and longer-term development. There are options for re-channeling SDRs, for example through the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust or the newly created Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which has received almost $40 billion in pledges.

Finally, for some countries, restoring debt sustainability will require debt re-profiling or an outright restructuring of their public debt. To make this a reality, the G20 Common Framework needs to better define its debt restructuring process and timeline, and the enforcement of the comparability of treatment among creditors. Importantly, debt service payments should be suspended until an agreement is reached.

 By Abebe Aemro Selassie and Peter Kovacs  IMF Blog

DOUBLE- DEALING?: Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru at the opening of his ICC trial on February 15, 2022. Image: ©ICC-CPI

The first appearance of Gicheru before the Court took place on November 6, 2020.

In Summary

• The orders which are part of ‘Order Setting Deadline for Defence Requests’ were issued by presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba.

•The first appearance of Gicheru before the Court took place on November 6, 2020.

The defence team representing lawyer Paul Gicheru who is under trial at the International Criminal Court has been ordered to table motions it seeks the chamber to rule on by Wednesday next week.

The orders which are part of ‘Order Setting Deadline for Defence Requests’ were issued by presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba.

“In the interests of ensuring the expeditiousness of the proceedings, the Chamber hereby instructs the defence to file any further motions upon which it wishes the Chamber to rule, by no later than May 4th, 2022,” reads the order in part.

It further reads, “The Chamber understands the notice not to present ‘a case’ as the defence’s notification that it will not be presenting a case through the calling of witnesses. However, the Chamber interprets the Defence’s Bar Table Motion as that it still intends to tender evidence into the record.”

In a statement dated April 25, from his counsel Michael G. Karnavas to the Trial Chamber III and the prosecution, Gicheru said he does not intend to present a case. 

Gicheru is facing offences against the administration of justice, consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses regarding cases involving Deputy President William Ruto and veteran radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang.

Gicheru pleaded not guilty before presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba. 

The first appearance of Gicheru before the Court took place on November 6, 2020.

The prosecution team concluded presenting its witnesses last month.  By  Felix Kipkemoi, The Star 

Somali military soldiers loyal to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble patrol outside the Aden Adde International Airport where members of the Lower House of Parliament are meeting to elect a speaker, in Mogadishu, Somalia, April 27, 2022.

Somalia’s election process faced new delays Wednesday as the president and prime minister clashed publicly over election security procedures ahead of a planned parliamentary leadership vote in the capital.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble issued a statement authorizing African Union forces to take control of security at the fortified airport compound where the vote was to take place.

“I have authorized ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) peacekeepers to immediately take over the security of the air force hangar as we complete the election of the parliamentary leadership and prepare for presidential elections next month,” he said.

Just two hours later, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed fired back, saying the national security election committee, which is chaired by General Abdi Hassan Hijar, Somalia's police commander, will oversee venue security.

The “ATMIS mission supports the national armed forces by collaborating with the Somali police force, which has the lead in the security of the elections,” Mohamed said in a statement.

By early afternoon, few lawmakers had shown up for the vote and a postponement seemed likely.

'Parallel' elections

For safety reasons, some of Somalia's parliamentary proceedings take place inside a former air force hangar at Aden Adde International Airport. The modified hangar, known as Afisyone, or “the tent,” will host the vote for speakership of the influential 275-member lower chamber.


It will also host upcoming presidential elections, which have yet to be scheduled.

In Somalia's parliamentary elections, which started in 2021, thousands of clan elders selected 275 members of parliament for the lower house, while senators for the upper house were elected by five different state-level legislatures. Both chambers of Somalia's bicameral parliament then elect the next president.

Although the elections of most lawmakers have been settled, a dispute has emerged over the election of 16 lawmakers representing Gedo, an administrative region within restive Jubaland in southern Somalia.

Citing security concerns, Somalia's election committee moved the venue for the parliamentary vote to resolve the disputed seats from the capital of the Gedo region, Garbaharey, to the Gedo town of El Wak. The move was endorsed by Roble, but supporters of the president rejected the move and selected 16 MPs of their own to offset the 16 chosen in El Wak.

Somalia's interim House Speaker Abdisalan Dhaban’ad and Roble want the 16 MPs elected in El Wak to participate in the speakership and presidential elections. But President Mohamed said lawmakers elected in the Gedo region's “parallel” elections should not participate until an agreement is reached.

Scuffles and a shooting preceded Tuesday's disagreement over who would provide security for the upcoming votes. House Speaker Dhaban’ad reported that police commander General Hijar denied him the opportunity to swear in the El Wak MPs at the tent on Monday.

He also reported that when they moved the swearing-in ceremony to a private hotel, security forces fired on the hotel. That prompted Roble to warn General Hijar and the director of the national intelligence agency, Colonel Yasin Abdullahi Mohamud — whose agents were accused of involvement in the shooting — against “disrupting” the election.

General Hijar denied Dhaban'ad's accusations. General Hijar also said he wants to see the parliamentary leadership vote postponed for days so that he can prepare for the security of the venue. He said he could not guarantee security if elections take place on Wednesday. That angered the security minister, Abdullahai Mohamed Nur, an ally of Roble, who said he “suspended” the police chief.

Meanwhile, the election for the leadership of the upper house took place peacefully on Tuesday. Veteran lawmaker Abdi Hashi Abdullahi has been reelected to the post. He has been a fierce critic of the current president’s policies. By Harun Maruf, VOA

An Ebola vaccination campaign has begun in northwest Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to halt the spread of a deadly new outbreak in the country, where the disease is endemic.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that people have now been inoculated in Mbandaka, the capital city of Equateur Province west. 

It follows the deaths of two people from Ebola since 21 April. More than 230 contacts of the deceased have been identified and monitored and three vaccination teams will work to reach those at highest risk, according to WHO.

Positive outlook

“With effective vaccines at hand and the experience of DRC health workers in Ebola response, we can quickly change the course of this outbreak for the better,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the UN agency’s Regional Director for Africa. “We are supporting the country in all the key aspects of Ebola emergency response to protect and save lives.”

The DR Congo has seen 14 Ebola outbreaks since 1976 - six just since 2018.

With support from WHO and other partners and donors, the country has become expert in mounting effective Ebola response, the UN agency noted.

Lifesaving delivery

Around 200 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine have been shipped to Mbandaka from the eastern city of Goma and further doses will be delivered in coming days.

The vaccination is injected according to the “ring strategy”, whereby the contacts - and the contacts of contacts - of confirmed Ebola patients, receive the jab, as well as frontline and health workers.

In addition to the vaccination campaign, a 20-bed Ebola treatment centre has been set up in Mbandaka. Disease surveillance and investigation of suspected Ebola patients are already underway to detect new infections, and WHO has also provided material support as well as six epidemiologists to assist in the response.

'New strain'

National health authorities are also crucial to the effort, including the National Institute for Biomedical Research, which has completed an analysis of a sample from the first confirmed case, results of which show that the new outbreak indicates a new strain of Ebola, the result of a “spill-over event from the host or animal reservoir”, WHO said.

Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the new outbreak and how it came to infect the first confirmed person.  UN

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed flanked by Azimio Secretariat members address the press outside KICC in Nairobi.


Raila has until May 16, to name his running mate.

In Summary

• Azimio Council secretary-general Junet Mohamed said Raila had constituted the panel that includes the clergy and representatives of political parties.

• The panel has up to May 10, to submit potential running mate candidates to the presidential candidate.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga has formed a seven-member panel to advise on who he will pick as his running mate.

In a statement on Wednesday, Azimio Council secretary-general Junet Mohamed said the panel members have agreed to take up the roles and deliver their new mandate.

The panel consist of the clergy and representatives of political parties. 

"The panel members are; Bishop Peter Njenga, Archbishop Zaccheus Okoth, Senator Enock Wambua, Michael Orwa, Noah Wekesa, Sheik Mohammed Khalifa and Beatrice Moe," Junet announced.

"The panel shall reach its decision through consensus and shall elect its chairperson. The secretary of the panel shall be Ms Elizabeth Meyo."

The panel has up to May 10, to submit the name of a person suitable for the seat of the running mate.

On Tuesday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that the deadline for submission of running mate names for presidential and governor aspirants had been extended to May 16.

The deadline was initially set for Thursday, April 28.

On April 21, Azimio-One Kenya Alliance's top Council sanctioned a process to identify Raila's running mate ahead of the August 9 polls.

The alliance's top organ said it had tasked the advisory panel to recommend possible persons for the second-highest position. 

"We have mandated an advisory panel to recommend suitable candidates for running mate," Azimio Council Secretary-General Junet Mohammed said.

On Tuesday, the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) submitted the name of its party leader Charity Ngilu for vetting and consideration as Raila Odinga's running mate.

The party submitted the letter to the Azimio la Umoja- One Kenya Coalition Advisory panel constituted to select Raila's running mate.

"As a pioneering affiliate member of the said coalition, it gives us pleasure to submit the name of our Party leader Charity Ngilu for vetting, evaluation and consideration aforesaid," read the letter by Narc Secretary-general Fidelis Nguuli.


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