International Monetary Fund sees Africa lagging in pandemic recovery
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday forecast that Africa’s economic rebound from pandemic-induced shrinkage would be weaker than in the rest of the world in 2021 and 2022.
Low rates of vaccination against Covid-19 across the continent top the list of reasons for the slower recovery, the Washington-based institution said in a biannual report on the region.
Growth for sub-Saharan Africa should reach 3.7 per cent in 2021 and 3.8 per cent in 2022, “a welcome but relatively modest recovery,” the IMF said in its forecasts.
Those figures would nevertheless be “the slowest in the world given that the developed economies will grow by more than five per cent and the emerging or developing countries by more than six per cent,” it added.
With just 2.5 per cent of people vaccinated against Covid-19, “lockdowns have been the sole option for containing the virus,” said IMF Africa chief Abebe Aemro Selassie.
Even though 12 billion doses of vaccine are to be produced in 2021, it will likely take more than a year for a significant number of Africans to be vaccinated, the Fund added.
Although Africa has been the region of the world least affected by the pandemic, it has also experienced several successive waves of the Coronavirus, and “there is little reason to believe that there won’t be repeated waves going forward”, Selassie said.
He blamed “stockpiling by advanced economies, export restrictions by major vaccine manufacturing countries, and demands for booster shots in advanced economies” for shortages in Africa that could continue for the foreseeable future.
Selassie added that “international cooperation on vaccination is critical to address the threat of repeated waves.