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Growth: a 3% rebound next year, despite the pandemic?

Africa to rebound by 3% in economic growth in 2021, predicts the African Development Bank, as nearly 49 million Africans could be plunged into extreme poverty due to the pandemic, particularly in Africa from West and Central Africa.

Growth: a 3% rebound next year, despite the pandemic?

Africa is expected to see a 3% rebound in economic growth in 2021 if governments manage to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This conditioned and at least optimistic scenario emanates from the editors of the supplement to the African Economic Outlook 2020, published Monday by the African Development Bank.

According to analysts at the Pan African bank, growth on the continent should rebound to 3% in 2021, against -3.4% in the worst case scenario for 2020.

Already published last January, the supplement warned that growth prospects for 2021 and beyond would largely depend on the effectiveness of African governments in flattening the curve of the epidemic and on policies to reopen economies.

Charles Leyeka Lufumpa, Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management at the AfDB, says that "to reopen economies, policy makers should adopt a gradual and gradual approach that carefully assesses the trade-offs between the too rapid restarting of economic activity and the preservation of the health of populations ”.

The supplement highlights that the pandemic curve in Africa is gradually flattening out. However, given the inadequacies of health systems and social protection, the virus remains a threat to human lives and people's livelihoods. The continent also remains vulnerable to other threats, such as the locust clouds in East Africa, and extreme weather events.

According to the Bank report, Africa could lose between US $ 145.5 billion and US $ 189.7 billion in growth in 2020.

“Tourism, transport and leisure will certainly be the sectors that will take the longest to leave. Between 2017 and 2018, the tourism and travel sector in Africa had grown by 5.6% ”, against an international average of 3.9%, details the AfDB in a press release.

Worsening poverty in two sub-regions of the continent

Hanan Morsy, Director of the AfDB's Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department, said the supplement predicted that in the worst-case scenario, an additional 49 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty by consequences of the pandemic. The number of people living in extreme poverty in Africa (using the international poverty line of $ 1.90) could reach 453.4 million in 2020 due to the pandemic, against 425.2 million in a scenario without pandemic .

West and Central African populations at higher risk of falling into extreme poverty due to pandemic, but COVID-19 could also worsen poverty in East Africa, say supplement authors southern.