By Our Reporter
Abuja (Precise Post) – The rapidly-spreading coronavirus outbreak is expected to push Nigeria and the rest of the sub-Saharan Africa countries into recession in 2020 for the first time in 25 years, the World Bank said in a new forecast on Thursday.
The bank’s Africa’s Pulse report said the region’s economy will contract 2.1 per cent to 5.1 per cent from growth of 2.4 per cent last year, and that the coronavirus will cost sub-Saharan Africa $37 billion to $79 billion in output losses this year due to trade and value chain disruption, among other factors.
Africa has at least 10,956 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, 562 deaths and 1,149 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and WHO data.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard,” World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem said.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are racing to provide emergency funds to African countries and others to combat the virus and mitigate the impact of sweeping shutdowns aiming at curbing its spread.
The coronavirus has led to suspension of international passenger travel in many countries on the continent, and hit sectors such as tourism.
Real gross domestic product growth was projected to fall sharply particularly in the region’s three largest economies – Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa, the World Bank said.
Oil exporting-countries would also be hard-hit; while growth would likely weaken substantially in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and the East African Community due to weak external demand, disruptions to supply chains and domestic production.
The bank said the spread of the flu-like respiratory disease also had potential to lead to a food security crisis on the continent, with agricultural production forecast to contract 2.6 per cent and up to 7 per cent in the event of trade blockages.
“Food imports would decline substantially (as much as 25 per cent or as little as 13 per cent) due to a combination of higher transaction costs and reduced domestic demand,” the bank said in a statement accompanying the report.