By Chinwendu Obienyi
Economic experts have said that with the surge in COVID-19 and the challenges surrounding human capital and infrastructure, the 2021 outlook for Africa remains fragile and uncertain.
According to them, the restoration of confidence, consumption, trade and investment will fuel the much- needed recovery in African economies.
Speaking at an interactive session during the 2021 Africa Investment Roundtable (AIR) which held virtually yesterday, the former Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Academic Scholar at the University of Oxford, England, Arunma Oteh, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on global economies in 2020.
She noted that in response to curb the effect of the pandemic, some advanced countries provided fiscal stimulus of 10 per cent of their GDP while African countries struggled to provide stimulus package of one per cent of their GDP, adding that the pandemic opened people’s eyes to see the benefits of good or disadvantages of poor leadership/collaborative efforts.
Oteh stated that the outlook for African economies remains uncertain as the continent is still grappling with debt levels, financial stress, human and infrastructural challenges.
Her words: “The World Bank (WB) states that the global economy is expected to expand by 4 per cent in 2021, assuming an initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout becomes widespread throughout the year. I think that there are risks on the downside even if we make huge strides because the surge experienced in the United Kingdom (UK) and U.S is a cause for concern. I still see debt levels being on the high side, human and infrastructural challenges might still abound and so I think that policy makers should carefully watch our financial stress.
However, if we can work around restoring confidence, consumption levels, trade and investment in African economies, then these factors will fuel recovery and also aid the WB’s outlook”.
According to her, finance is the fuel for Africa’s recovery as innovative financing will enable the continent take full advantage of the domestic and international market, adding that Africa needs to tap into the climate economy.