Several sub-Saharan African central banks are exploring or in the pilot phase of a digital currency, following Nigeria’s October introduction of e-Naira. Nigeria was the second country after the Bahamas to roll out a CBDC.
The war in Ukraine and resulting increase in commodity prices are expected to contribute to a further widening this year. The lingering pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are dealing a setback to the global economy. This is affecting trade, commodity prices, and financial flows, all of which are changing current account deficits and surpluses.
Already facing huge development needs, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the challenges facing fragile and conflict states—a group of currently about 40 countries trapped in cycles of low administrative capacity, political instability, conflict, and weak economic performance.
The pandemic’s impact on the world’s poor has been especially harsh. COVID-19 may have pushed about 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020 alone, while the UN warns that in some regions poverty could rise to levels not seen in 30 years.
The pandemic has deepened long-standing gender gaps, with women continuing to bear the burden of unpaid work. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality—a process called gender budgeting—governments can help close the gap.