Coronavirus: United Kingdom, facing worst recession on record, sees GDP drop 20.4% in Q2

The UK has seen its economy, hit by the coronavirus crisis, suffer a "record" contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, and is officially facing its worst recession on record, agency figures show National Statistics (ONS), published Wednesday 12 August. 
Economists consider that a country enters a technical recession when it accumulates two consecutive quarters of contraction in its economy. According to the ONS, most of the contraction, which began to be felt in March, occurred in April, an entire month of containment and almost total cessation of activity in the country, which saw production collapsed by 20%.

With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops. This is the biggest contraction in the UK economy since the ONS began these quarterly statistics in 1955, he said…

Accelerating the transformation of agriculture and health in Africa through the water sector

From Mozambique (in the South) to Morocco (in the North), 20 million Africans living in rural and urban areas have had access for the first time to drinking water thanks to projects financed by the African Development Bank, indicates a recently published evaluation report by the Bank's Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV).
Accelerating the transformation of agriculture and health in Africa through the water sector

This access to drinking water is particularly important during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the spread of the virus is closely linked to water and sanitation. Ensuring reliable access to clean water for drinking and washing hands can reduce the transmission of the coronavirus and help people stay healthy. But today, an estimated 2.2 billion people lack access to a safely managed water supply, and most are in the poorest regions of Africa. In addition, more than 750 million Africans do not have access to improved sanitation. These water and sanitation challenges risk being further exacerbated by the climate change crisis in Africa and exacerbating the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. To meet these challenges, the Bank has invested 4.5 billion units of account over the past ten years to promote universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and to adequate and equitable sanitation - one of the main Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6).

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is also affecting agricultural production, with a negative impact on food security and nutrition. Food insecurity could kill more people in Africa than Covid-19. For comparison, the death rate from Covid-19 in the worst-affected country in Africa is around 0.06 to 0.08%, or less than a tenth of a percentage point. In 2017, ten African countries lost more than 1% of their total population due to premature deaths from malnutrition, mainly children and women. According to the IDEV appraisal report, the Bank's projects in the field of water management (in agriculture) have played a key role in reducing the drudgery of water supply for domestic purposes and agriculture, and in increasing agricultural production and productivity in terms of diversification of agricultural crops. They also increased the income of the beneficiaries of the projects. Agricultural water management can help African farmers optimize production, feed a rapidly growing population, and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, making the lessons of this assessment particularly relevant.

Despite these positive results, the Bank can do more to meet Africa's challenges and accelerate the continent's human and economic development. The IDEV evaluation provides key lessons for improving the Bank's interventions in the water sector and accelerating the long-term transformation of the agriculture and health sector in Africa.

IDEV has conducted four assessments related to the water sector: three cluster assessments of projects (water supply and sanitation in rural and urban contexts, and agricultural water management) and one water sector assessment. These evaluations summarize the evidence, conclusions and lessons learned from an independent evaluation of the support provided by the African Development Bank to the water sector over a period of 12 years (2005-2016), covering more than 400 operations across the continent at a total cost of US $ 8.2 billion.

One of the key success factors identified by the evaluation is that adopting beneficiary-driven approaches is relevant when applied in a consistent manner. The extent and quality of collaboration with local stakeholders is important. In Ghana, for example, the active participation of community members throughout the implementation of the project was noted. This was made possible through the participation of over 600,000 community members in various project activities related to raising awareness and understanding of the demand-side approach.

The evaluation also identified some obstacles to a successful intervention in the water sector. For example, the achievement of development results may be compromised by poor service delivery, insufficient human capacity, limited funding and performance of the sanitation and hygiene component, or the lack of appropriate critical risk assessment of the health sector. 'water. In addition, the poor quality of the feasibility studies had consequences on the design of the project and on its implementation.

Overall, having a long-term view of water interventions is essential for post-completion monitoring of facility functionality and sustainability of results, says IDEV.

These lessons can provide rapid responses to the current health crisis and serve for food security, accelerating the long-term transformation of the agriculture and health sector in Africa.