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SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA TO EXPAND FURTHER – WB

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

GROWTH in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to firm to 3.6 percent and 3.8 percent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, supported by elevated commodity prices as activity continues to rebound in the region’s main trading partners.

This is after growth in the region reached an estimated 3.5 percent in 2021, supported by a rebound in commodity prices and a gradual easing of social restrictions. According to the World Bank Global Economic Prospects for January 2022, the near-term recovery was expected to persist supported by elevated commodity prices as activity continued to rebound in the region’s main trading partners (China, the Euro area, and the United States).

The World Bank however indicated that growth would be at a slower pace than last year. “The outlook is also predicated on a gradual recovery in tourism, with vaccinations in some tourism-reliant economies already proceeding at a much faster pace than in the rest of the region. “Projected growth in the region in 2022-23 is, however, still nearly a full percentage point below its 2000-19 average, partly reflecting the lingering adverse effects of Covid-19, while the pace of vaccinations is also expected to remain slow in many SSA countries,” the bank stated.

It stated that the speed of recovery was to be constrained by elevated policy uncertainty in many countries and delays to investments in infrastructure and mining, as well as a slow implementation of structural reforms, among others. Meanwhile, the report stated that growth in SSA reached an estimated 3.5 percent in 2021, supported by a rebound in commodity prices and a gradual easing of social restrictions. Nevertheless, it stated, recurrent virus flare-ups in several countries and low vaccination rates slowed the pace of the recovery.

“Growth is forecast to firm to 3.7 percent a year on average in 2022-23— somewhat above last June’s projections but insufficient to reverse increases in poverty and losses in per capita income. “Slow progress with vaccinations is expected to underpin only a gradual recovery of domestic demand, with substantial downside risks clouding the outlook. The fading tailwinds from commodity prices, the unwinding of policy support, and a shift to austerity in some countries to tackle rising debt levels could slow growth,” World Bank stated.

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