25 October 2022

Weathering the storm: African public development banks’ response to Covid-19 and their recovery role

Weathering the storm

In the wake of the unprecedented global impacts of Covid-19, this study looks at the understudied role of public development banks (PDBs) in Africa, in responding to the economic impacts of the crisis, and their broader role in supporting economic recovery and building resilience. It brings together new survey data and detailed financial analysis, alongside in-depth case study to highlight their valuable role and understand their challenges.

The study examines three research questions:

  1. Did African PDBs play a countercyclical role in confronting the Covid-19 crisis? What kind of responses do we see, and what scale did this take?
  2. How were African PDBs financially impacted by the effects of Covid-19 on the domestic economy? How did this impact their ability to react?
  3. How have PDBs been utilized or supported by shareholding governments and partners in their response, and as an instrument of broader economic recovery strategies?

This report finds that African PDBs were adaptable, resourceful, and largely counter-cyclical in their response to Covid-19. The study finds that PDBs adopted either a restricted, responsive, or proactive strategic response depending on institutional circumstance and their financial health, as well as the support of central banks and regulatory bodies. The findings confirm the critical role that they can play, not only in building economic resilience to shocks but as active agents of national economic policy and institutions, who can support a low carbon and climate resilient economic recovery. However, these banks will need to be strengthened, supported and recapitalized to enable them to realize this potential.