World Bank Raises Nigeria’s 2021 GDP Forecast to 2.4%

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The World Bank has raised its projection for Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2021 to 2.4 per cent from the previous 1.8 per cent.

The latest projection was contained in the bank’s Africa Pulse, a biannual analysis of the near-term macroeconomic outlook for the region.

The global lender said the expected growth in the nation’s economy would be largely supported by the service sector.

However, the rate remains low compared to non-resource-rich countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya, which are expected to recover strongly from the pandemic at 6.2 and 5.0 per cent, respectively.

“Nigeria’s economic growth shows little sign of speedy recovery from the 2020 recession,” the World Bank said.

“The economy grew 5 per cent in the second quarter, from 0.5 per cent growth in the first quarter.

“This was the third consecutive quarter of positive growth since the pandemic crisis.

“The main driver of the recovery is the non-oil sector, with a growth rate of 6.7 per cent compared with 0.8 per cent in the first quarter,” it added.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also set to emerge from the 2020 recession sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic with growth expected to expand by 3.3 per cent this year, one per cent higher than the previous forecast.

This rebound is currently fueled by elevated commodity prices, a relaxation of stringent pandemic measures, and recovery in global trade, but remains vulnerable given the low rates of vaccination on the continent, protracted economic damage, and a slow pace of recovery.

According to analysis in the report, growth for 2022 and 2023 will also remain just below 4 per cent, continuing to lag the recovery in advanced economies and emerging markets, and reflecting subdued investment in the region.

Speaking on this, Mr Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank said, “Fair and broad access to effective and safe COVID 19 vaccines is key to saving lives and strengthening Africa’s economic recovery.

“Faster vaccine deployment would accelerate the region’s growth to 5.1 per cent in 2022 and 5.4 per cent in 2023—as more containment measures are lifted, boosting consumption and investment.”

The report pointed out that African countries have seized the opportunity of the health crisis to foster structural and macroeconomic reforms.

The lender pointed out that several countries have embarked on difficult but necessary structural reforms, such as the unification of exchange rates in Sudan, fuel subsidy reform in Nigeria, and the opening of the telecommunications sector to the private sector in Ethiopia.

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