Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy is expected to expand by 3.4 percent in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economy contracted 1.9 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the ‘Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa,’ report, the region’s growth will be supported by improved exports and commodity prices, along with a recovery in both private consumption and investment.
Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the IMF’s African Department said, “Since our last assessment of the regional economic outlook in October 2020, the region has confronted a second pandemic wave, which outpaced the scale and speed of the first. And many countries continue to face or are bracing for further waves, particularly as access to vaccines remains scant.”
The report further said that Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth is set to recover in 2021. “Yet, the path to recovery, and overcoming the long-lasting effects of the pandemic will be difficult. Policymakers must strive to deliver vaccines, while restoring the health of public balance sheets harmed by the crisis. Transformative reforms and renewed external support are more important than ever to rekindle the region’s growth,” the report said.
While Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent, South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 3.1 percent in 2021. Kenya and Botswana are projected to have the highest rates of growth this year at 7.6 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.
Selassie further said the immediate priority is to save lives. This will require more spending to strengthen health systems and containment efforts, and cover vaccine procurement and distribution.