By Elizabeth Adegbesan
The World Bank has raised its 2021 economic growth forecast for Nigeria to 2.4 percent..
The Bank disclosed this yesterday in the latest edition of its Africa’s Pulse Report. It also increased Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) growth by one per cent to 3.3 per cent from its previous 2.3 per cent growth projection for 2021.
The Bank stated:”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 per cent, 2.4 per cent, 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.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is set to emerge from the 2020 recession sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic with growth expected to expand by 3.3 per cent in 2021. This is one per cent higher than the April 2021 forecast according to the latest edition of Africa’s Pulse.”
According to the World Bank, “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 per cent, continuing to lag the recovery in advanced economies and emerging markets, and reflecting subdued investment in SSA.
However, Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank, Albert Zeufack noted that faster access to Covid’19 vaccines would speed up SSA growth in 2022 and 2023.
“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 per cent in 2023 as more containment measures are lifted, boosting consumption and investment” said Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank.
The Bank projected that the region’s fiscal deficit, at 5.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP in 2021, is expected to narrow to 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2022 and 3 per cent of GDP in 2023 citing prudent monetary and fiscal policies as factors.
It noted that fiscal discipline, combined with limited fiscal space, had prevented African countries from injecting the level of resources required to launch a vigorous policy response to COVID-19.
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