David Malpass, World Bank President

 

WASHINGTON, October 6, 2021 —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 percent in 2021. This is one percent higher than the April 2021 forecast according to the latest edition of Africa’s Pulse. 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 percent, continuing to lag the recovery in advanced economies and emerging markets, and reflecting subdued investment in SSA.

“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 percent in 2023—as more containment measures are lifted, boosting consumption and investment,” said Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank.

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 percent, 2.4 percent, 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.

A positive trend, according to the report authors, is that African countries have seized the opportunity of the crisis to foster structural and macroeconomic reforms. Several countries have embarked on difficult but necessary structural reforms, such as the unification of exchange rates in Sudan, fuel subsidy reform in Nigeria, and the opening of the telecommunications sector to the private sector in Ethiopia.

Additionally, thanks to prudent monetary and fiscal policies, the region’s fiscal deficit, at 5.4 percent of GDP in 2021, is expected to narrow to 4.5 percent of GDP in 2022 and 3 percent of GDP in 2023. However fiscal discipline, combined with limited fiscal space, has prevented African countries from injecting the level of resources required to launch a vigorous policy response to COVID-19.

Apart from mounting fiscal pressures and rising debt levels as they implement measures for a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, Sub-Saharan African countries are also faced with worsening impacts of climate change. The Pulse authors advise that just as the countries have used the crisis to introduce reform measures, they should also harness this opportunity to make sustainable, resilient transitions toward low-carbon economies that can provide long-term benefits in the form of reduced environmental hazards as well as new economic development openings.

The reports highlights Africa’s unique context of low baseline development, preexisting climate vulnerabilities, limited energy access, and high reliance on climate-sensitive sectors— as posing challenges but also providing opportunities to transform the economy and create jobs. Private firms and governments in Africa are providing training for jobs in solar energy (Togo and South Africa). Investments in climate-smart infrastructure can help cities create jobs. Decarbonization is an opportunity to foster manufacturing activity in the region, including the production of components of the Internet of Things, value-addition to minerals that will power the green economy, and insertion into regional value chains

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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