Africa builds defences against budget shocks

26 October 2020

In 2017, the Executive Secretary of CABRI, Neil Cole, spoke to Gavin O’Toole of Global Government Forum. Three years later, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the article remains pertinent.

Often exposed to natural disasters and dependent on a handful of commodity industries, African countries can find that sudden shocks leave big holes in their public finances. But as Gavin O’Toole finds, civil servants are learning how to ensure that a major shock doesn’t lead to a fiscal heart attack.

Africa Budget

Already vulnerable to natural disasters such as drought, African countries must guard against knock-on effects on public finances (Image courtesy: Oxfam East Africa)

African countries should build financial resilience by “innovating in times of plenty”, the head of an African public finance initiative has argued, in order to make themselves less vulnerable to sudden economic shocks or natural disasters.

Neil Cole, executive secretary of the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) says governments that create “fiscal space” to widen their room for manoeuvre in advance of a crisis are better able to cope when one occurs.

The intergovernmental organisation has been working with finance officials confronted by shocks – ranging from the Ebola crisis to plummeting oil prices and hikes in the public sector wage bill – to help strengthen their responses. Read more here: https://www.globalgovernmentfo...

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