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Sub-Saharan Africa set for uneven rebound, World Bank says

As some countries struggle to bring coronavirus infections under control.
Image: Adetona Omokanye/Bloomberg

Sub-Saharan Africa is set for an uneven economic recovery this year as some countries struggle to bring coronavirus infections under control, according to the World Bank.

Gross domestic product is forecast to grow 2.3%-3.4% in 2021 after contracting 2% last year, the Washington-based lender said in its Africa Pulse report Wednesday.

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New infection waves are weighing on growth projections on the continent. Economic activity will remain well below pre-Covid-19 projections in a majority of the countries in the region, increasing the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic on people’s living standards, the World Bank said.

While African countries have made tremendous investments over the last year to keep their economies afloat, governments will need to do more to “support job creation, strengthen equitable growth, protect the vulnerable,” and support the environment, the bank’s Chief Economist Albert Zeufack said in a statement.

Rising demand for commodities and higher prices should help support the recovery in the region, the World Bank said, while vaccine distribution will have an uneven impact on growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s outlook also depends on debt suspension. Several countries in the region have signed up to the so-called common framework on debt relief put together by the Group of 20 nations.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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