Pandemic may cause Africa’s 1st recession in 25 years

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – The World Bank yesterday warned sub-Saharan Africa could slip into its first recession in a quarter of century because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We project that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will decline from 2.4 per cent in 2019 to -2.1 to -5.1 per cent in 2020, the first recession in the region in 25 years,” the Bank said in an assessment.

The virus has arrived late in Africa compared to elsewhere but is spreading rapidly in some countries, and the continent is highly vulnerable to declining trade and tourism and falling prices for oil and mineral exports, it said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard,” said the Bank’s Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem.

The impact on African countries will vary, the report said.