LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Sub-Saharan African economies are projected to grow by between 2.3 and 3.4 percent in 2021 depending on the policy measures adopted by countries in the region and the international community, the World Bank said in a report released on Wednesday.
According to Africa’s Pulse report, the growth forecast is due to the positive impact of a carry-over from the rebound in the second half of 2020 and a more supportive external environment which is offset by the impact on the activity of the persistence of social distancing restrictions and the limited scope for additional fiscal support.
Like other economies around the world, the region was forced to adopt strict lockdown measures in the first quarter of 2020 to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, hitting key economic activities like tourism and trade.
“For most countries in the region, activity will remain well below the pre-COVID-19 projections at the end of 2021, increasing the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic on people’s living standards,” the World Bank said.
The findings show that Sub-Saharan Africa’s recovery is expected to be multi-speed, with significant variation across countries.
The recovery, which will also be aided by ongoing efforts to vaccinate people against the disease, is expected to vary among individual nations, the World Bank said. Diversified economies like Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as mining-dependent ones like Botswana and Guinea, will grow robustly as rising confidence attracts investments.
“Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the region’s three largest economies, are expected to return to growth in 2021, partly owing to higher commodity prices, but the recovery will remain sluggish,” says the analysis.
The report notes that African countries can speed up their recovery by ramping up their existing efforts to support the economy and people in the near term, especially women, youth and other vulnerable groups.