Sub-Saharan Africa’s prospects for recovery are strengthening amid actions to contain new waves of the pandemic and speed up vaccine roll-outs, according to the World Bank’s biannual economic analysis publication –Africa’s Pulse.
Growth in the region is forecast to rise between 2.3 and 3.4 percent in 2021, depending on the policies adopted by countries and the international community.
It notes that a slower spread of the virus and lower COVID-19-related mortality, strong agricultural growth and a faster-than expected recovery in commodity prices has helped many African economies weather the economic storm induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“African countries have made tremendous investments over the last year to keep their economies afloat and protect the lives and livelihoods of their people,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa.
“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,” he said.
In the Eastern and Southern Africa sub-region, the growth contraction for 2020 is estimated at -3.0 percent, 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 percent in 2021, and 4.0 percent in 2022, the Bank said.
However, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development estimates above regional average growth in the region of 7.4 percent this year riding on the good rainfall and productivity in the agriculture sector.
Late last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), projected a rebound of 4.2 percent from a decline of 10.2 percent in 2020.
“The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration into regional and global value chains,” said the World Bank.