Welcome back to Axios World. Hope you managed to have a nice weekend, even if you were stuck inside.
A local official in Kampala, Uganda, spreads the word about social distancing. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images
The global economy has never faced a challenge like the coronavirus, but it’s in Africa that the pain could be deepest and recovery slowest.
Why it matters: Years of progress on alleviating extreme poverty will be undone, and economies that had been among the world’s fastest growing could face deep recessions. That’s even if Africa averts a Europe-style public health catastrophe.
Flashback: “Long before we began to see any of the health impacts of this virus, Africa was already feeling the brunt of the economic impact,” says W. Gyude Moore, a former Liberian public works minister now at the Center for Global Development.
Many African countries went into lockdown even before they had significant outbreaks.
What they're saying:
Where things stand: G20 countries agreed last week to freeze payments on bilateral loans to poor countries until the end of this year.
What to watch: Moore, who was in government during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, said at that time “the rest of the world could mobilize resources to help three small countries."
The bottom line: Moore says that if Italy can't even get the help it's demanding from the EU, "you can imagine what the response to Africa will be."
Go deeper: African nations scramble for supplies
A woman waits for emergency financial assistance in Islamabad. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP
Pakistan is also grappling with the question of whether economic shutdowns could do more long-term damage than COVID-19 itself.
Driving the news: Pakistan has extended its nationwide lockdown to April 30 while loosening restrictions on some key industries. The National Coordination Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss whether the lockdown can be lifted.
What they’re saying: “That is the most difficult decision in poor countries, where unemployment rates are high, jobs are scarce and people don’t have savings to tap into when they are not able to go out and work,” Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., told Axios in an interview.
What to watch: Pakistan's testing and contact tracing systems lag far behind those in countries like Germany and South Korea, which are also attempting to restart their economies.
Netanyahu before Gantz. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form a “national emergency government,” ending more than a year of political deadlock in which Israel held three elections.
Why it matters: Despite corruption charges and protests against him, and just weeks after it seemed his political career could be over, Netanyahu will remain in office as prime minister. His trial has been postponed until May 24 as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Details: According to the coalition deal, both Netanyahu and Gantz will be sworn in together as prime minister and prime minister-designate. Netanyahu will serve for 18 months, followed by 18 months for Gantz.
Meanwhile: More than 2,000 Israelis stood 6 feet apart in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Sunday to protest what they consider the erosion of democracy under Netanyahu.
A poll designed to test President Trump’s vulnerabilities on foreign policy finds that 56% of voters in 12 battleground states believe he has made America less respected in the world, compared to 31% who say America is now more respected.
By the numbers: Among the 16% of voters who remain undecided ahead of November's vote, 59% agree that Trump is making the U.S. less respected, compared to 16% who say the U.S. is now more respected.
The poll was commissioned by National Security Action, a group founded by former Obama administration officials to advise Democrats on foreign policy.
Voters were also given 10 possible foreign policy priorities and asked which three were most important to their vote.
The big picture: While a plurality (+6%) believes Trump has done a good job keeping America safe from terrorism, a larger one (+22) says he’s increased the likelihood of war.
What to watch: Presented with a list of criticisms of Trump's foreign policy, voters expressed the most concern about his unwillingness to listen to facts from experts and advisers — a tendency that has gained more scrutiny as the coronavirus crisis has deepened.
Details: 1,204 people were polled across Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Life isn't getting any easier for oil exporters. For the first time ever, U.S. producers had to pay to sell their own crude today, as the unprecedented fall in demand has caused storage infrastructure to fill with unwanted oil.
Worth noting: It's partially a timing thing, Axios' Ben Geman reports. While May futures prices for West Texas Intermediate settled at -$37.63, contracts for June are higher (but still dirt-cheap at around $21).
The big picture: The coronavirus-fueled lockdowns around the world are choking off oil demand and throwing the oil industry — which was already oversupplied before the pandemic — into historic chaos, Axios' Amy Harder writes.
Late arrival. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images
The Sunday Times of London paints a devastating portrait of 38 days (Jan. 24–March 2) in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson skipped five emergency coronavirus meetings, prioritized the messaging around Brexit, and took a two-week "working holiday."
“There’s no way you’re at war if your PM isn’t there. And what you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends. It was like working for an old-fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be.”— Downing Street senior adviser
Why it matters: The U.K. approach to the virus had already been widely criticized, but mainly because its initial approach proved flawed and was suddenly abandoned when cases began to spike. However, the Times suggests the crucial mistakes were actually made weeks prior.
Zoom out: Pandemics had been officially listed as the U.K.'s top national security threat for years, but got less attention amid budget cuts and Brexit contingency planning, the Times reports.
“The interesting thing for me is, I’ve worked with Singapore ... and basically they copied the U.K. pandemic preparedness plan. But the difference is they actually implemented it.”— Martin Hibberd, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The flipside: The British public appears to have rallied around the flag and their prime minister, whose approval ratings were rising even before his own battle with the coronavirus.
A bride in Wuhan. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images
“I received a nice note from him recently."— Trump on Saturday, speaking about Kim Jong-un
“The relations between the top leaders ... are not an issue to be taken up just for diversion nor it should be misused for meeting selfish purposes."— North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Sunday, denying any such note was sent