Economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed East Africa’s growth projection for 2020 down to 1.2 percent, a rate that outstrips other African regions and is forecast to rebound to 3.7 percent in 2021, according to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2020
The projection is under the baseline scenario that assumes the virus is contained by the third quarter of this year.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region’s economic growth was projected at more than five percent, well above the continent’s average of 3.3 percent and the global average of 2.9 percent. However, COVID-19-induced shocks and a locust invasion have contributed to job losses, increased humanitarian needs and will aggravate poverty and income inequality.
In the worst-case scenario, in which the pandemic persists until the end of 2020, growth is projected at 0.2 percent, still above Africa’s predicted average of -1.7 percent and -3.4 percent under the two scenarios.
At the launch of the report held in Nairobi on Wednesday, Simon Kiprono Chelugui, cabinet secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Labour, said East African countries could overcome the effects of COVID-19 and turn their economies around by mitigating the external and domestic risks.
“We need to implement a decisive and coordinated response to contain the spread of COVID-19; mitigate its health and socio-economic effects; accelerate structural transformation; improve the investment climate, and maintain the peace and security of our region,” he said.
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