COVID-19: Africa’s GDP to decline by over $230b in 2020, says Adesina



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COVID-19: Africa’s GDP to decline by over $230b in 2020, says Adesina

By Ibrahim Apekahde Yusuf with Agency report



Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to decline by $173-236billion just as the continent’s economic growth rate will further plunge by 3.4% at the end of the year, no thanks to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

Making this revelation at the weekend was Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.



Adesina spoke at the Virtual 2020 International Forum on African Leadership held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, while giving his keynote address at the event with the theme, “Rethinking Global Partnerships and Africa’s Economic Resurgence.”

The AfDB boss while admitting that the parlous state of the continent’s economy was not unconnected with the economic restrictions fueled by COVID-19, however said it was heartening to note that the Bank spearheaded many intervention programmes and initiatives during the early days of the pandemic.

Globally, over 60 million people have been infected and over 1.4 million have died. In Africa, total infections are at over 2 million, with over 45,000 deaths.

While reiterating that the negative impacts of COVID-19 on economies have been massive, the African Development Bank, Adesina said, “Showed leadership and responsiveness in supporting countries to address the pandemic. The Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to support countries’ immediate needs for liquidity. The Bank also launched a $3 billion fight COVID-19 social bond on the global capital markets, the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history, now listed on the London Stock Exchange, Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.”

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The pandemic has further laid bare the divide in the labor market. Those with skills are able to keep their jobs, while low skilled workers, especially those employed in the informal sector lost jobs, worsened by the lockdowns. It’s estimated that up to 30 million jobs will be lost in Africa by the end of the year.

As Africa builds back, Adesina said priority should be put on the quality of growth, not just the quantum of growth. Growth must be more equitable, and focus on sectors that are better able to create jobs.

According to him, building back African economies with resilience requires addressing its high debt levels. Total outstanding debt on the continent is over $700 billion while bilateral concessional debt finance has declined from 52% to 27% between 2000 and 2019, commercial debt owed to private creditors increased from 17% to 40% in the same period. Private commercial debtors held some $44 billion in Eurobond debt for 10 African countries at the end of September 2020.

Africa, Adesina maintained, “Will build back faster by also harnessing and better managing the revenue streams from its abundant natural resources, including minerals, metals, biodiversity, blue economy, forest resources, agriculture and oil and gas, in order to boost domestic savings. Going forward, more transparent governance over natural resources must form a key component of financing Africa’s growth.”

The Bank, he further revealed, is providing over $384 million for countries to address immediate food and nutrition issues, including providing access to improved seeds, farm inputs, strategic food reserves and opening up of regional trade corridors to facilitate trade in food just as it hopes to accelerate its efforts to mobilise $5 billion for women through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women.

The Bank is also supporting the development of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area to create competitive industrial manufacturing capacity and wider trade and investment opportunities for the continent. The Bank provided $4.5 million to help create the secretariat for the free trade area.

COVID-19: Africa’s GDP to decline by over $230b in 2020, says Adesina

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