The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has estimated that all the Portuguese-language countries in Africa will grow this year, also forecasting expansion for all of them by 2022, with the exception of Equatorial Guinea.
According to the report released in New York on the World Economic Situation Prospects, after a year marked by negative growth in all Portuguese-language African countries, the recovery will be led by Sao Tome and Principe, which is expected to register a growth rate of 4.7 percent this year.
The report on the global and economic outlook draws attention to the uncertainty surrounding these forecasts, subject to a greater degree than normal due to the possibility that further containment measures will have to be taken to prevent the spread of the pandemic, which has had a very negative effect on the continent.
“The African continent has been through an unprecedented economic crisis with major adverse impacts on the continent’s long-term development,” the report says, estimating that last year economic growth in Africa fell by 3.4% and that this year it should also advance by 3.4% on average.
After five years of negative economic growth, Angola is expected to come out of recession this year, growing 1.2 percent, an estimate significantly above the government’s forecast, which anticipates a recession, and the International Monetary Fund’s forecast, which recently revised downwards the forecast for economic expansion of 0.4 percent of GDP in 2021.
Cabo Verde, the Portuguese-language country with the biggest drop in 2020, followed by Equatorial Guinea with 8%, is also expected to recover this year, although to a lower than average figure of around 5% in recent years.
UNDESA expects the archipelago to grow by 3.4% this year, provided that global tourism recovers and the pandemic is brought under control in the short term, allowing for a slowdown in measures to combat the virus.
In the document, UN experts noted that countries exporting raw materials and those dependent on tourism flows had been particularly affected, which explains the sharp drops in economic activity seen in these categories in Angola and Equatorial Guinea and Cabo Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.
The report warned that the crisis, which has been aggravated by the pandemic, has already killed more than 85,000 people and infected more than three million people on the continent, “is causing an increase in unemployment, poverty and inequality, which threatens to wipe out the gains in development in recent decades,” UNDESA regretted.
It finally warned that funding conditions have become more difficult and levels of public debt are placing African countries, such as Angola, Cabo Verde and Mozambique, all of which have a debt that represents more than 100 percent of GDP, in serious difficulties.