COVID-19: IMF predicts recession for sub-Saharan Africa in 2020

Sub-Saharan ’s gross domestic product is expected to contract 1.6 per cent this year, compared with 3.1 per cent growth in 2019, as the coronavirus pandemic wrecks the region’s economies, the International Monetary Fund said on .

Various African governments have imposed lockdowns and curfews to curb the of the coronavirus, however the restrictions are putting pressure on most economies, some of which were already in recession.

The IMF said in its World Economic Outlook that GDP was projected to fall sharply in , the continent’s most advanced .

The country’s GDP is projected to contract 5.8 per cent in from growth of 0.2 per cent in 2019.

entered a recession in the final quarter of 2019 as power cuts by state utility Eskom took a toll on the , while public finances were strained by bailouts to struggling state firms.

The country imposed some of the toughest restrictions on the continent to contain the coronavirus, including a five-week lockdown to the end of April.

With production and spending curtailed, the economic outlook was set to remain grim.

The IMF also projected significant economic contractions in oil-exporting countries, with Nigeria’s GDP forecast to fall 3.4 per cent this year after growing 2.2 per cent in 2019.

Angola’s was expected to remain in recession, contracting 1.4 per cent in .

Meanwhile, the IMF and the World are racing to provide emergency funds to African countries and others to combat the coronavirus and mitigate the impact of sweeping shutdowns aiming at curbing its . (Reuters/NAN)