*Advocates multilateral action to fastrack vaccine deployment

By Babajide Komolafe

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has retained its 2.5 percent projection for Nigeria’s economic growth in 2021.

IMF however upgraded its projection for the country’s economic growth in 2022 to 2.6 per cent. This represents a three basis point upgrade from the 2.3 per cent earlier projected in April.

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The latest projections were contained in the July edition of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook released yesterday.

Though it retained its projection for the global economic growth  in 2021, at 6.9 per cent, it however upgraded its projection for 2022 by five basis points to 4.9 percent.

The IMF however retained its forecast for the sub-Saharan economic region for 2021 and 2022 at 3.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

“The 2021 forecast for sub-Saharan Africa is unchanged relative to the April WEO, with an upgrade for South Africa following a strong positive surprise in the first quarter offset by downward revisions in other countries. The worsening pandemic developments in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to weigh on the region’s recovery,” IMF said.

While noting that economic prospects have diverged further across countries since the release of its April 2021 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast, IMF said that vaccine access has emerged as the principal fault line along which the global recovery splits into two blocs: those that can look forward to further normalization of activity later this year (almost all advanced economies) and those that will still face resurgent infections and rising COVID death tolls. The recovery, however, is not assured even in countries where infections are currently very low so long as the virus circulates elsewhere.

Consequently, IMF called for multilateral action to diminish divergences and strengthen global prospects.

“The immediate priority is to deploy vaccines equitably worldwide. A $50 billion IMF staff proposal, jointly endorsed by the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, and World Bank, provides clear targets and pragmatic actions at a feasible cost to end the pandemic. Financially constrained economies also need unimpeded access to international liquidity.

“The proposed $650 billion General Allocation of Special Drawing Rights at the IMF is set to boost reserve assets of all economies and help ease liquidity constraints. Countries also need to redouble collective efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 These multilateral actions can be reinforced by national-level policies tailored to the stage of the crisis that help catalyze a sustainable, inclusive recovery.

“Concerted, well-directed policies can make the difference between a future of durable recoveries for all economies or one with widening fault lines—as many struggle with the health crisis while a handful see conditions normalize, albeit with the constant threat of renewed flare-ups”, IMF stated.

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