The 2021 edition of the African Economic Conference is jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The theme of this year’s conference is “Financing Africa’s post-COVID-19 development”.
Across Africa, millions continue to be affected by COVID-19, which is in its third or fourth waves in some countries (Total cases: 4 159 055; Total deaths: 111 357; Total recoveries: 3 726 707; Total tests: 39 259 460 – April 10, 2021). Despite the start of vaccination programs in several countries, 2021 is likely to be a year of weak economic recovery across the African continent. Average economic activity in Africa is projected to contract by 3.0 percent (link is external)in 2020 and recover slightly to 3.1 percent (link is external)for 2021. This represents a drop in real per capita income of 5.3 percent, bringing per capita incomes back to 2013 levels, the worst outcome on record. The downturn is driven by Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, which are projected to contract by 4.3% (link is external)and 8.0%(link is external), respectively. The fall in oil prices hit sub-Saharan Africa’s oil exporters hard, especially Angola, and Nigeria. Other commodity exporters and economies dependent on tourism are also facing severe contractions. Moreover, with the continent’s largely non-formal economies, relatively shallow financial systems, and thin fiscal buffers, African governments lack many of the tools necessary to counteract the pandemic’s varied socioeconomic impacts.