IMF warns over rising debt in sub-Saharan Africa

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the rising debt and food price inflation threaten to jeopardise previous gains in food security.

The Fund, in its latest regional economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, stated that the region’s recovery depends on the progress in the fight against COVID-19 and is vulnerable to disruptions in global activity and financial markets.

The IMF noted 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 percent 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 percent,” 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.

The Nigerian economy is expected to grow by 2.6 percent thanks to high oil prices, even if production will remain below pre-Covid levels. The IMF predicts 2.7 percent growth in Nigeria for 2022.

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