NIGERIA’S gross domestic product (GDP) in now expected to grow by a miniscule 1.5% this year as it recovers from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic after contracting by 3.5% during the course of 2020.
According to revised figures just published by the United Nations (UN) in its latest World Economic Situation and Prospects report, Nigeria should come out of recession in 2021. However, the UN noted that tighter foreign exchange liquidity, mounting inflationary pressures and subdued domestic demand clouded Nigeria’s medium-term outlook.
Produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in partnership with the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the five UN regional commissions, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2021 looked at the post Covid-19 recovery potential. In the report, the UN warned that the devastating socio-economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come unless smart investments in economic, societal and climate resilience ensure a robust and sustainable recovery of the global economy.
Specifically, the UN observed that African countries are experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn with major adverse impacts on development. Among other things, the
report underscored that sustained recovery from the pandemic will depend not only on the size of the stimulus measures and the quick rollout of vaccines but also on the quality and efficacy of these measures to build resilience against future shocks.
UN secretary-general António Guterres, said: “We are facing the worst health and economic crisis in 90 years. As we mourn the growing death toll, we must remember that the choices we make now will determine our collective future.
“Let’s invest in an inclusive and sustainable future driven by smart policies, impactful investments and a strong and effective multilateral system that places people at the heart of all socio-economic efforts.”
Despite the relatively few numbers of cases compared to other continents, the report, posited that the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to strongly impact living conditions and development progress in Africa. Last year, the global economy shrank by 4.3%, over two and half times more than during the global crisis of 2009 and a modest recovery of 4.7% expected in 2021 would barely offset the losses of 2020, according to the report.
A UN spokesman added: “The crisis is already increasing unemployment, poverty and inequality. Most countries are facing enormous challenges to keep the pandemic under control and mobilise financial resources to support health systems, protect vulnerable groups and support the recovery.
“After a contraction of 3.4% in 2020, Africa is projected to achieve a modest recovery, with regional GDP expanding by 3.4% in 2021. This recovery is predicated on the rise of domestic demand and the pick-up of exports and commodity prices.”