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 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.
Japan’s voluntary month-and-a-half shutdown of the economy in April due to COVID-19 has had a higher cost for women than men. A key reason: a “guilt gap” between women and men, where women often feel compelled to take on more professional sacrifices.
Electoral violence occurs in many African countries. Tragically, thousands are killed and displaced during election cycles on the continent. Over the next year and a half, Presidential elections are scheduled in thirteen sub-Saharan African countries, raising fears that, as in the past, violent incidents or conflict may erupt again. But what can African nations do to lessen electoral violence?
March 8 marks International Women’s Day, which provides a chance to reflect on the struggle for greater gender equality. The roots of this annual event reach back more than a century, yet its focus on respect and opportunities for women remains strikingly relevant today—from sexual harassment and violence to unequal laws and unfairness in the workplace, where women are too often underemployed, underpaid, and underpromoted.