Sub-Saharan Africa's economy to expand by 3.3 as recession ends
Sub-Saharan Africa's economy is expected to expand by 3.3 percent in 2021 after a contraction of 2 percent in 2020, the World Bank has projected.
This is one percent higher than the April 2021 forecast according to the latest edition of Africa’s Pulse. This rebound is currently fueled by elevated commodity prices, a relaxation of stringent pandemic measures, and recovery in global trade, but remains vulnerable given the low rates of vaccination on the continent, protracted economic damage, and a slow pace of recovery.
According to analysis in the Pulse, the World Bank’s twice-yearly economic update for the region, growth for 2022 and 2023 will also remain just below 4 percent, continuing to lag the recovery in advanced economies and emerging markets, and reflecting subdued investment in the region.
The findings show that the region's recovery process from the 2020 recession has been affected by a third wave of the pandemic, led by the Delta variant, a more transmissible and virulent strain of COVID-19.
The analysis indicates that the rollout of vaccine campaigns in Africa is falling considerably shorter compared with other continents, as about 3.3 percent of the population is inoculated compared with more than 50 percent in advanced economies.
"Fair and broad access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines is key to saving lives and strengthening Africa's economic recovery. Faster vaccine deployment would accelerate the region's growth to 5.1 percent in 2022 and 5.4 percent in 2023 - as more containment measures are lifted, boosting consumption and investment," Albert Zeufack, chief economist for Africa at World Bank said.
The report notes that African countries have seized the opportunity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to foster structural and macroeconomic reforms.
The World Bank added that accelerating the economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa requires significant additional financing.
"The region needs more financing to counter the effects of the pandemic and sustain a robust and inclusive recovery. This is needed to narrow the unequal recovery path between rich and poor countries," it said.
The analysis shows that current speeds of economic recovery in the region are varied, with the three largest economies, Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, expected to grow by 0.4 percent, 2.4 percent, 4.6 percent respectively. Excluding South Africa and Nigeria, the rest of SSA is rebounding faster at a growth rate of 3.6 percent in 2021, with non-resource-rich countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya expected to recover strongly at 6.2 and 5.0 percent, respectively.