IMF Survey: Finance Ministers of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 3 Worst Economies Highlight Problems

first_imgFinance ministers from three fragile states in sub-Saharan Africa said their economies were struggling to get back on track.The ministers from Liberia, Central African Republic, and Madagascar told a news conference during the IMF-World Bank Spring meetings in Washington that the slow global economy is making recovery more difficult.Abdalla Kadre Assane, of the Central African Republic, said after almost three years of massive insecurity, the country lacks the resources required to stabilize its institutions ahead of general elections scheduled for August.Gervais Rokotoarimanana said Madagascar will be asking the IMF for funds under the Extended Credit Facility to help the country recover from the effects of a political crises that ended in January 2014.But the overriding issue was Ebola. “The disease ravaged our economy beyond imagination,” said Amara Konneh, Liberia’s Finance Minister.Konneh said Liberia had survived the crisis and the authorities hoped that the World Health Organization would declare the country Ebola-free by May 15. The devastation left by the disease, however, is overwhelming, he added.  “Our healthcare system collapsed.  We need to rebuild for resilience. We need to get the children back in school; we have more orphans, widows and widowers today than we ever had. So we’re redirecting spending and making hard decisions—but the demand is too high and our resources too little,” Konneh told the news conference.The Ebola crisis had also  isolated Liberia from the rest of the world, he continued; and had limited imports, exports and travel to the point where the government had to increase spending on goods and services “so the country would not collapse.”“It scared everybody away from us. So we’ve had to take some fiscal and monetary measures to maintain macro-economic stability.”Meanwhile, growth projections for the three countries most affected by the Ebola epidemic have been significantly marked down, and Konneh said the current state of the global economy— notably China’s slow down— isn’t helping get growth back to pre-crisis levels.“We want to go back, in the shortest period of time, from one to six percent growth.  So we will need to invest in activities that will diversify the economy.The Liberian Finance Minister also noted the declining commodity prices, such as iron ore, rubber, etc.,      driven by slow global growth, have caused the economy to suffer a lot.Assane and Rokotoarimanana said they, too, were worried about the impact of China’s slowing economy, not only because of the effect on commodity prices, but because China has been involved in infrastructural  improvement projects in both of their countries. Rokotoarimanana said they were looking forward to more Chinese investment in Madagascar, but those projects are now on hold.“China has built hospitals, and some cultural infrastructure, and we were hoping they would help us rebuild our road infrastructure”The three finance ministers agreed that infrastructural  investment is key to increasing economic growth. Konneh said the single most important hindrance to the region’s economic development is the lack of reliable and cheap electricity. They wouldn’t be so dependent on China buying raw materials, he said, if only they could start manufacturing products themselves.“We have commodities, but we cannot add value to them  because we don’t have electricity.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

India’s future in safe hands as Dheeraj Singh shines bright at FIFA U-17 World Cup

first_imgIndia’s FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign was over on Thursday after a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Ghana but the colts won a billion hearts with a strong display against the top teams around the world.While the likes of Aniket Jadhav and Komal Thatal were in the limelight for their attacking exploits, a quiet ‘man’ from Manipur turned out to be the biggest hero for the hosts in the tournament.And he goes by the name of Dheeraj Singh — India’s 5’9″ tall goalkeeper.KEEPING IT SIMPLEThe 17-year-old really keeps it simple. Nothing flashy, nothing ambitious — just keep the ball away from the net.  Yes! He conceded eight goals in the tournament. Three against the United States, one against Colombia and four in the last match versus Ghana. But if one saw the matches, they would know that not only is he much better than what the stats say, but also he is a leader on the pitch. A key trait for a goalkeeper.The man from Manipur was commanding, decisive and was an ever-present wall of defence for the Indian team in the opposition’s final third. One could always see him screaming, directing his players to maintain a shape and not to let their man go. That’s what you want from your goalie and the teenager did all this and more to perfection.GOOD PACKAGEAP PhotoVery rarely do we see a goalkeeper, who has every trait to be a perfect custodian of his team’s goal. And he is not perfect as well.advertisementHis handling and distribution is nowhere near perfect. While you can get away with the latter, even if you are not top notch, until and unless you are quite literally playing for Pep Guardiola, the former just cannot be  an area you can get away with as a goalkeeper.But then again, he is just 17 and with time and an experience like this, he will only get better.But, where he excels is his shot-stopping ability and positioning — perhaps the two most important areas for a goalkeeper. He has made 25 stops from the three-matches and if not for him, the scorelines would have been humiliating for the hosts.So, what allows him to make these saves? It’s his reading of the game and positioning. That is really good for a player of such a young age and this is exactly why he is there to make the saves when the shots are being taken. What also helps him is his reflexes. He is lean and is tall for a 17-year-old and that allows him to move quickly and cover a lot of area and make some swift and acrobatic saves — much like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu — India’s senior team goalie.His apt reading of the game also allows him to make right decisions and that we saw in plenty when the Manipur boy dashed out of the box and cleared the ball to save his team the blushes.A strong statement but that’s a perfect combination of two of the world’s best goalkeepers — Manuel Neuer and David De Gea.He has a lot of ground to cover to reach anywhere near their level but all I am saying is that the signs are there.BRIGHT FUTUREAP PhotoHow often do you see a goalkeeper overshadowing the forwards in terms of popularity and winning matches or saving them? Well in Dheeraj’s case, he managed to do the former and also the latter in bits and parts.After the three matches and during them, his name and saves saw the loudest cheers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.People acknowledged his skills, passion and saw a star in the making.And yes! Dheeraj Moirangthem is one for the future. If his displays are anything to go by, he will keep India’s legacy of producing good goalkeepers alive and maybe end up being the best in two decades time.Memorable moments of great sportsman spirit at the #FIFAU17WC, conveys the essence of true sportsman.#IndiavGhana @IndianFootball #SAI ?????? pic.twitter.com/TW9OoLAIyA- SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) October 13, [email protected] team lost d match but won hearts for their sheer spirit & determination.Well played! We are proud of u.#FIFAU17WC #SAI?????? pic.twitter.com/y1DcJ11fgP- SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) October 13, 2017last_img read more