Nam economy to grow by 2.6%

IMF outlook rosier

08 April 2021 | Ekonomie
Jo-Maré Duddy – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the Namibian economy to grow by 2.6% this year, lagging behind the average growth of 3.4% forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

According to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook, released on Tuesday, Namibia’s economy is projected to grow by 3.3% in 2022, against the 4.0% expected for SSA.

The IMF’s domestic outlook is rosier than that of finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi. In his budget speech last month, Shiimi said growth of 2.1% and 2.8% was expected in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Preliminary data released last week by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) showed the economy grew by -8.0% in 2020.

The IMF said Namibia’s average economic growth from 2003 to 2012 was 4.1%, compared to 5.7% for SSA.

It projects growth of 2.5% for 2026, lower than the 4.0% expected for the region.

WORLD

Accelerated vaccinations and a flood of government spending, especially in the United States, have boosted the outlook for the global economy, but more must be done to prevent permanent scars, the IMF said.

The IMF now sees world growth of 6.0% this year after the contraction of 3.3% in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic - the worst peacetime downturn since the Great Depression a century before.

The United States, which deployed another US$1.9 trillion last month, is expected to grow by 6.4%, among the fastest expansions in the world and 1.3 points higher than the January forecast.

Meanwhile, China's economy, one of few that grew last year, will expand 8.4% in 2021, the IMF said.

The Euro Area too will see gross domestic product (GDP) expand 4.4%, slightly better than the prior forecast.

As the pandemic caused business and trade shutdowns, the damage done to developing nation economies slashed per capita income and "reversed gains in poverty reduction," the IMF said.

POVERTY

It calculated that an additional 95 million people entered the ranks of the extreme poor in 2020, and there are 80 million more undernourished than before.

While the United States is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic GDP level this year, after China did so last year, many others will not hit that threshold until 2022 or well into 2023 for developing nations.

The IMF warned against withdrawing government support too soon, and urged policymakers to safeguard the recovery through policies to support firms, including ensuring adequate supply of credit, and workers with wage support and retraining.

That also calls for resources to help children who have fallen behind in their education during the pandemic, the fund said.

"Without additional efforts to give all people a fair shot, cross-country gaps in living standards could widen significantly, and decades-long trends of global poverty reduction could reverse," the IMF said. – Additional reporting by Nampa/AFP

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