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W’Bank projects 3% GDP growth for West, Central Africa in 2021, 2022

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… Nigeria in fine fettle

WORLD Bank has projected real GDP in West and Central Africa sub-regions to grow by 2.1 per cent and 3.0 per cent in 2021 and 2022 respectively with recovery expected to vary across countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

  The global finance agency also pointed out that growth in Western and Central Africa sub-regions contracted by 1.1 per cent in 2020, less than projected in October 2020 partly due to a less severe contraction in Nigeria, the sub-region’s largest economy, in second half of the year.

  World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Albert G Zeufack, released the projection yesterday during a virtual press conference on the global finance watchdog’s latest round-up on impact of COVID-19 on African economy.

  According to him, African countries have made tremendous investments over the last year to keep their economies afloat and protect the lives and livelihoods of their people, despite the global pandemic, but priority should be accorded to creative economics to avert further slump.

  “Countries should focus on ambitious reforms that support job creation, strengthen equitable growth, protect the vulnerable and contribute to environmental sustainability will be key to bolstering those efforts going forward toward a stronger recovery across the African continent. Only this will help growth in the region even up between 2.3 and 3.4 per cent in 2021, depending on the policies adopted by countries and the international community.

Care must also be taken particularly in response to second wave of COVID-19 infections partly dragging down 2021 growth projections with daily infections about 40 per cent higher than during the first wave. While some countries had a significant drop in COVID-19 infections due to containment measures adopted by the government, other countries are facing an upward trend in infections. But real GDP growth for 2022 is estimated at 3.1 per cent,” he said.

  However, it said for non-resource-intensive countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya, and mining-dependent economies, such as Botswana and Guinea, are expected to see robust growth in 2021, driven by a rebound in private consumption and investment as confidence strengthens and exports increase.

  In the Eastern and Southern Africa sub-regions, the growth contraction for 2020 is estimated at -3.0 per cent, mostly driven by South Africa and Angola, the sub-region’s largest economies.

Excluding Angola and South Africa, economic activity in the sub-region is projected to expand by 2.6 per cent in 2021, and 4.0 per cent in 2022.

  Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have contracted by 2.0 per cent in 2020, closer to the lower bound of the forecast in April 2020, and prospects for recovery are strengthening amid actions to contain new waves of the pandemic and speed up vaccine rollouts, according to the World Bank’s biannual economic analysis for the region.

  On activities of World Bank Group COVID-19 Response, the report stated  broad, fast action is being taken to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19.

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