According to updated forecasts from the African Development Bank which were released on Tuesday, 7th July 2020, Africa’s economic growth could rebound in 2021, provided that governments manage the COVID-19 infection rate well.
In a comprehensive socio-economic assessment of the pandemic’s impact, the Bank said Africa's economic growth was now projected to rebound to 3% in 2021 from -3.4% in the worst-case scenario for 2020.
The predictions are contained in a supplement to the Bank’s African Economic Outlook, which was released on 30 January. At the time, Africa’s growth was forecast at 3.9% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021.
The supplement cautioned that the growth outlook for 2021 and beyond would depend largely on African governments’ effectiveness in flattening the curve of the outbreak and policies to reopen economies.
Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, at the African Development Bank, Charles Leyeka Lufumpa said:
“To reopen economies, policymakers needed to follow a phased and incremental approach that carefully evaluates the trade-offs between restarting economic activity too quickly and safeguarding the health of the population. "
The spread of the virus in Africa depends largely on the preparedness of countries to separate and treat infected patients, the supplement stated, noting that only 21 out of 54 African countries are clinically prepared to deal with epidemics.
The supplement noted that the curve of the pandemic in Africa was flattening gradually. However, COVID-19 remains a serious threat to lives and livelihoods, given weak healthcare systems and limited social protection. The continent also remains vulnerable to other regional threats such as the locust swarms that have struck East Africa, as well as to extreme climate events.
Under projected scenarios for contraction of growth, Africa could lose between $145.5 billion and $189.7 billion of GDP in 2020, according to the publication.