Sub-Saharan Africa economies to grow 2.3% to 3.4% this year – World Bank

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A boy walks in front of a graffiti promoting the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The World Bank has suggested that sub-Saharan growth will be up to 3.4% this year. Picture: Reuters
A boy walks in front of a graffiti promoting the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The World Bank has suggested that sub-Saharan growth will be up to 3.4% this year. Picture: Reuters

BUSINESS


Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to post economic growth of 2.3% to 3.4% this year, the World Bank said in a new report this week, bouncing back from a pandemic-induced 2% contraction last year.

Like other economies around the world, the region was forced to adopt strict lockdown measures in the first quarter of last year to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 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 bank said.

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.

Read | SA economy: grow by 4% or face a debt trap

Diversified economies like Kenya and Ivory Coast, as well as mining-dependent ones like Botswana and Guinea, will grow robustly as rising confidence attracts investments, it said.

Significant risks, however, still remain, the bank warned.

“The resurgence of the pandemic in late 2020 and limited additional fiscal support will pose an uphill battle for policy makers,” the bank said.

The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration.
World Bank

During the second and third waves of the pandemic, some nations have seen their daily Covid-19 infections surge by 40% compared with the first wave of the pandemic, the World Bank said, weighing on recovery prospects.

Last week, Kenya imposed new, partial restrictions on the capital Nairobi and four adjacent counties to curb the spread of the coronavirus as it reels from a third wave of infections.

Read | Surge in global manufacturing accelerates goods inflation and demand

Governments should support the projected economic recovery by strengthening their policy interventions, the Word Bank said, adding that a new continental free trade bloc inaugurated at the start of this year could be key.

“The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration,” it said. – Reuters


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