The European Business Council for Africa

The IMF Published its new  World Economic Outlook Report in April 2021

Global prospects remain highly uncertain one year into the pandemic. New virus mutations and the accumulating human toll raise concerns, even as growing vaccine coverage lifts sentiment. Economic recoveries are diverging across countries and sectors, reflecting variation in pandemic-induced disruptions and the extent of policy support. The outlook depends not just on the outcome of the battle between the virus and vaccines—it also hinges on how effectively economic policies deployed under high uncertainty can limit lasting damage from this unprecedented crisis.

Global growth is projected at 6 percent in 2021, moderating to 4.4 percent in 2022. The projections for 2021 and 2022 are stronger than in the October 2020 WEO. The upward revision reflects additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility. High uncertainty surrounds this outlook, related to the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support to provide a bridge to vaccine-powered normalization, and the evolution of financial conditions

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opened for business on January 1, 2021, promising opportunities for people from all socio-economic strata to share in economic growth in the world’s largest free-trade zone. Expected to cover 54 African countries, with a combined gross domestic product of about U.S. $2.2 trillion, the AfCFTA is projected to generate increased cross-border trade and investment volumes, technology transfers, and income levels, lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty by 2035 (Abrego et al., 2020; World Bank, 2020a).

Ambitious at the best of times, the AfCFTA faces a multitude of hurdles to effective implementation, from weaknesses in trade infrastructure, human capital, and information and communications technology to unresolved strategic and regulatory considerations, including the absence of a shared trading currency (Albert, 2019; Erasmus, 2020).

Please find here the new Corporate Council on Africa report on : Priorities and Policy Recommendations on Africa for the Biden-Harris Administration

Please find here the SWAC/OECD Report titled : Food system transformations in the Sahel and West Africa: implications for people and policies , Maps & Facts.

Open global trade has had positive effects for African industrialization and development. This report looks at efforts to help African countries strengthen their trading capacity and take fuller advantage of the benefits that trade brings.

The report looks into the effects of COVID-19 on Africa, the latest trends in African trade and how the WTO is providing support through the WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative and in areas such as trade facilitation, compliance with regulatory standards for trade, and technical assistance. The report also looks into projects aimed at mainstreaming trade into the national development strategies of African countries.

Please find here the new EUISS report on Africa 

‘Nobody is safe until everybody is safe’ has become a cliché over managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet until now the behaviour of most nation states has been the exact opposite.

Britain astutely grabbed multiple pharmaceutical contracts nearly a year ago, so that aged 71, I have had my Oxford- Zeneca vaccine when my similar- age cousins in South Africa (from where my family originates), haven’t.

With one of the very worst infection and
death rates in the entire world, Boris Johnson has transformed his reputation for Covid incompetence into praise for his vaccination programme.

Yet Britain is an island economy dependent upon trade. People have to fly or sail in (or drive in from Europe) for us to feed ourselves and survive economically.

ADDIS ABABA, 21 March 2021 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has presented its Industrial Development Report (IDR) 2020: Industrializing in the digital age at a side event of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development. The event provided the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic presents for African countries in adopting advanced digital technologies, and in charting the future course of industrialization.

Opening the event, LI Yong, UNIDO Director Generalasserted that the world economy is facing enormous pressure, and that nearly all industrial sectors are affected. He also stressed, however, that “despite the challenges, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also presents new opportunities and has accelerated the uptake of digital technologies across diverse sectors”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on African economies. Economic activity in Africa is estimated to have experienced its worst contraction on record in 2020, thereby pushing tens of million more people into extreme poverty. In the face of limited domestic resources and borrowing space, many countries on the continent have been constrained in their ability to implement expansionary macroeconomic policies to contain the crisis, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite the significant support for COVID-19 response provided by their bilateral and multilateral partners, African countries continue to face significant financing needs to protect lives and livelihood and bolster prospects for a stronger and more resilient economic recovery.

In this light, the time for the international community to go big on supporting Africa’s pandemic crisis recovery is now. To this end, I believe the following steps—which I detail in a new policy paper—will go a long way toward making the global financial system more effective, thereby helping countries on the continent mobilize more adequate levels of external financing for their crisis recovery.

The new (March 2021) ominously named ''Out of the frying pan...into the fire?'' Trade and Development Report by UNCTAD is now public 

Bellow you will find interesting facts and figures included in the report, relevant to Africa.

 

VACCINE UNCERTAINTY

Prospects for vaccinations are also uncertain, particularly for developing countries. After rapid progress in research and clinical trials, thanks to strong public funding support in some countries, roll out has to date been surprisingly uneven including across advanced economies despite their widespread use of advanced purchase agreements. In developing economies access to vaccines has been limited, and despite concerns over scaling up production capacity in advanced countries, calls at the WTO to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, to speed up production in some emerging economies, have been resisted. The experience has revealed serious shortcomings in the international health architecture and more generally a reticence to treat the pandemic as a truly global public health and economic challenge.

REGIONAL TRENDS IN GDP GROWTH: SOUTH AFRICA AND SUBSAHARAN AFRICA

Africa was severely hit in 2020 by the pandemic, which led to the worst economic performance in decades as economic output shrank 3.8 per cent, compared with a trend growth of 3.2 per cent over the last few years. The two main economies in sub-Saharan Africa were not exempted from the crisis. South Africa’s real GDP increased at an annualised rate of 6.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020. This followed growth rates of 67.3 per cent in the third quarter and -51.7 per cent in the second quarter. According to the latest preliminary indicators, the overall growth for 2020 was - 7.0 per cent, representing the biggest annual fall in economic activity the country has registered since at least 1946. Given the very slow growth in the past years, such a shock brought back the annual GDP level to where it was in real terms seven years ago. Despite the impact of the pandemic on economic growth, agriculture production was strong in 2020 growing 13 per cent.