Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 3.3% this year and 3.5% in 2022, buoyed by rising commodity prices, the lifting of some anti-coronavirus restrictions and a pick-up in global trade, a World Bank report said on Wednesday.
It said sub-Saharan growth would rise to 3.8% in 2023.
Like elsewhere around the world, sub-Saharan Africa imposed restrictions on movement in the first quarter of last year to limit the spread of COVID-19, throttling trade and other key economic activities including tourism and transport.
The World Bank report said growth could turn out to be higher at 5.1 per cent in 2022 and 5.4 per cent a year later depending on how fast COVID-19 vaccinations were rolled out, while a slower inoculation rate would reduce growth projections.
“Slower vaccine delivery and coverage would impede the relaxation of COVID-19 disruptions in economic activity and project growth to slow down to 2.4 per cent in 2023,” the bank’s Africa’s Pulse report said.
The last Africa’s Pulse report issued in April had forecast growth of between 2.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent this year, after an estimated contraction of 2.0 per cent in 2020.
While many developed economies have gradually reopened thanks to vaccination campaigns, the pace of inoculations in Africa has remained slow. There is concern that continued threats posed by variants of the coronavirus such as Delta may leave African nations trapped in cycles of on-off lockdowns.
As of Wednesday, Africa had registered 8.45 million COVID-19 infections and 212,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.