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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kambou, Gerard ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Cantu Canales, Catalina ; Aviomoh, Henry E.The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa has been severe; however, countries are weathering the storm so far. Real GDP is estimated to contract by 2.0 percent in 2020—close to the lower bound of the forecast range in April 2020, and less than the contraction in advanced economies and other emerging markets and developing economies, excluding China. Available data from the second half of 2020 point to rebound in economic activity that explain why the contraction in the region was in the lower bound of the forecasts. It reflected a slower spread of the virus and lower COVID-19-related mortality in the region, strong agricultural growth, and a faster-than-expected recovery in commodity prices. Economic activity in the region is expected to rise to a range between2.3 and 3.4 percent in 2021, depending on the policy measures adopted by countries and the international community. However, prospects for a slow vaccine rollout, the resurgence of pandemic, and limited scope for additional fiscal support, could hold back the recovery in the region. Policies to support the economy in the near term should be complemented by structural reforms that encourage sustained investment, create jobs and enhance competitiveness. Reducing the countries’ debt burden will release resources for public investment, in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure. Investments in human capital will help lower the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic which may become apparent over the longer term, and can enhance competitiveness and productivity. The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration into regional and global value chains. Finally, reforms that address digital infrastructure gaps and make the digital economy more inclusive –ensuring affordability but also building skills for all segments of society, are critical to improve connectivity, boost digital technology adoption, and generate more and better jobs for men and women.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10-05) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kambou, Gerard ; Boreux, Sebastien ; Buitano, Mapi M. ; Korman, Vijdan ; Kubota, MegumiExternal headwinds and domestic difficulties are impacting economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth will decelerate in 2015 amid weak global economic conditions. Some countries, however, will continue posting solid growth. Sub-Saharan Africa is entering a period of tightening borrowing conditions amid growing domestic and external vulnerabilities. Reflecting the widening fiscal deficits, government debt has continued to rise in many countries. Weak fundamentals, combined with the strong appreciation of the U.S. dollar, have kept currencies across the region under pressure throughout the year. Policy buffers are low in several countries, constraining the response to the current environment and underscoring the need for African countries to improve domestic resource mobilization and enhance public expenditure efficiency. Progress in reducing income poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa may have been faster than the authors thought, but poverty remains high. The region’s growth deceleration challenges efforts to reduce poverty.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Christiaensen, Luc ; Evans, David ; Kambou, Gerard ; Boreux, Sebastien ; Korman, Vijdan ; Kubota, Megumi ; Buitano, Mapi ; Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Litwack, John ; Savescu, Cristina ; Tchana Tchana, FulbertAfrica’s Pulse is a biannual publication containing an analysis of the near-term macro-economic outlook for the region. It also includes a section focusing on a topic that represents a particular development challenges for the continent. It is produced by the Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region.This issue is an analysis of issues shaping Africa's economic future. Growth remains stable in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries are seeing a slowdown, but the region's economic prospects remain broadly favorable. External risks of higher global financial market volatility and lower growth in emerging market economies weigh on the downside. In several Sub-Saharan African countries, large budgetary imbalances are a source of vulnerability to exogenous shocks and underscore the need for rebuilding fiscal buffers in these countries. The Ebola outbreak is exacting a heavy human and economic toll on affected countries and, if not rapidly contained, the risk of wider contagion grows. Without a scale-up of effective interventions, growth would slow markedly not only in the core countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), but also in the sub region as transportation, cross-border trade, and supply chains are severely disrupted. In Sub-Saharan Africa, growth in agriculture and services is more effective at reducing poverty than growth in industry. Structural transformation has a role to play in accelerating poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing agricultural productivity will be critical to fostering structural transformation. Boosting rural income diversification can facilitate this transformation, as well. Investments in rural public goods and services (for example, education, health, rural roads, electricity and ICT), including in small towns, will be conducive to lifting productivity in the rural economy. Although Sub-Saharan Africa's pattern of growth has largely bypassed manufacturing, growing the region's manufacturing base, especially by improving its fundamentals, lower transport cost, cheaper and more reliable power, and a more educated labor force, will benefit all sectors.