Ratings agencies have come under fire from African policymakers and politicians in the wake of their decisions during the pandemic. Eleven African countries were downgraded in the first half of 2020 due to the growth and fiscal impact of Covid-19, and 12 had their ratings lowered to negative watch.

While criticism of the agencies is hardly new, it’s been vociferous, with the continent already battling a debt problem and facing enormous resource constraints. It is in this context that many have taken issue with the agencies for what they term a rigid and mechanical approach to assessing creditworthiness, saying it doesn’t adequately account for contextual factors...

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