World Bank: Oil sector fall drives down growth in west and central Africa

October 13, 2020

By Barry Morgan in Paris.

Economic growth will fall this year across west and central Africa due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with the fortunes of major oilproducing nations set to decline, according to a report from the World Bank. After expanding by 1.5% in 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) among Africa’s oil exporters is projected to decline by more than 4% in 2020, mainly due to projected contractions in Angola and Nigeria, according to the report, Africa’s Pulse: Charting the Road to Recovery.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hammered global oil demand, keeping prices relatively low for most of this year. Nigeria’s GDP contracted by 6.1% in the second quarter of 2020 on a year-on-year basis, the worst result for more than a decade.

Other oil producers such as Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon will also record an economic decline, while the economies of the likes of Ivory and Ghana will slow but not contract, the report, released this month, said.

Africa must remain vigilant despite recording lower case numbers of Covid-19 infections and lower mortality rates compared to other regions, say World Bank researchers. “Confirmed cases and deaths from the new coronavirus are recorded respectively at 3.4% and 2.5% of those registered worldwide (but) great uncertainty surrounds the scale and trajectory of the pandemic amid concerns of a potential second wave in African countries.”

With the exception of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa has so far escaped the worst of the health crisis but the global crisis has unwound economic progress across the region with economic activity set to contract this year by 3.3%, according to the report.