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2020 African Economic Outlook

Published by on June 28th, 2020.


Two African countries are on the top ten list of fastest growing world economies. The 2020 African Economic Outlook report by African Development Bank says Tanzania and Rwanda have emerged in the top ten group.

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The report shows east Africa registering an average of five percent growth last year, and is expected to rise to about four percent this year and next.

The report says north Africa posted strong growth as the second fastest at just above four percent. West Africa’s economy grew to three point two percent in 2019, up from two point seven the previous year.

The run down shows Rwanda posted highest growth rate at 8.7 per cent followed by Ethiopia 7.4 per cent, Ivory Coast 7.4 per cent, Ghana 7.1 per cent, Tanzania 6.8 and Benin 6.7 per cent.

Southern Africa’s growth slowed considerably over the same period, from 1.2 percent to zero point seven percent. The region’s economy was dragged down by devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth.

Overall, the continent’s economic growth stabilized at three point four percent last year and is expected to rise to almost four percent this year.

World trade is expected to fall by between 13 and 32 percent this year as the covid-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world.

The World Trade Organization has said in its annual trade statistics and outlook report that that the decline would likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008.

The report’s estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.

WTO director-general, Roberto Azevedo says “the immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. He recommends policymakers begin planning for the aftermath of the pandemic.

Azevedo said a rapid and vigorous rebound is possible if countries work together rather than if each country acts alone.

Zimbabwe has reintroduced the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The country had banned foreign notes in June last year.

Authorities announced the move on Thursday saying it is expected to help the country access private foreign exchange savings as it gears up for the battle against coronavirus.

The country’s central bank has also reduced its main lending rate to 25% and set a fixed exchange rate as part of measures to support the economy against the pandemic.

Central Bank Governor John Mangudya said he expected banks to cut lending rates to customers.

Zimbabwe had used a number of foreign currencies since hyperinflation forced the government to ditch the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. Last year’s ban on foreign currencies was intended to restore normalcy to the economy.

Officially, Zimbabwe has so far recorded five cases of coronavirus, including one death.

South Africa has plunged into recession and widespread power cuts are being blamed for it. Official statistics released on Tuesday shows South Africa’s economy, the continent’s most industrialized, falling into a decline. Its economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the previous three-month period.

South Africa’s nationwide power blackouts are blamed for the larger than expected decline in the fourth quarter. State-owned power utility, Eskom, has been unable to meet demand and has had to implement rotating cuts in electricity to residences, factories, mines and businesses.

A recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline.

South Africa’s economic growth forecast for 2020 has been cut to just under one percent.

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