(Ecofin Agency) - After a Covid-19-induced recession in 2020, the sub-Saharan economy is expected to rebound to 3.3% this year through to at least 2023. According to the World Bank, growth could be higher if vaccines were deployed more effectively.
In Africa’s Pulse report published yesterday October 6, the Bank provided an outlook for the SSA economy from 2021 to 2023. After 3.3% this year, growth is seen at 3.5% and 3.8% for 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The report however stressed that the recovery will be unevenly observed across the region depending on the structure of the economies and how they have been impacted by the covid-19 crisis. Côte d'Ivoire and Kenya are expected to reach 6.2% and 5% respectively this year, while Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, all three heavily affected by the pandemic, are expected to reach 0.4%, 2.4%, and 4.6% respectively. As for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, growth is seen at 3.6% for 2021.
Although the outlook for 2021 is up from 2020, it remains fragile due to low vaccination rates on the continent. “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, World Bank's Chief Economist for Africa, said.
While SSA countries have been able to adopt structural and macroeconomic reforms in response to the pandemic, the report indicates that they also need to implement economic reforms that favor cleaner resources. These countries are increasingly facing the challenges of climate change and suffer from low baseline development, preexisting climate vulnerabilities, low use of fossil fuel energy, and high reliance on climate-sensitive agriculture. The World Bank said the difficulties could end up being opportunities through a green economic transition.
“Investments in climate-smart infrastructure can help cities create jobs. The business closures, job losses, and reduced revenues for local services induced by the pandemic have affected the majority of cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Urban policies that are climate-sensitive can help local governments leverage their limited public finance with private sector investment while addressing problems such as pollution, floods, extreme heat, and energy access,” the report said.
Experts indicate that sub-Saharan Africa could overcome the pressure of fiscal austerity and debt levels to sustain the decline in the regional budget deficit. The latter is forecast at 4.5% of GDP in 2022 and 3% of GDP in 2023, compared with 5.4% in 2021.
Dorcas Loba (intern)