The COVID-19 pandemic has severly effected Africa, subjecting it to great uncertainty from both external and domestic risks.
In an exclusive interview, Ahram Online discussed with the Deputy Director General of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for North Africa and Country Manager for Egypt Malinne Blomberg the findings of its latest updated report on Africa’s economy and how the bank sees Egypt’s performance in navigating the crisis.
The interview also touched upon the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and its expected role in helping the continent recover from the pandemic.
Blomberg talked about AfDB’s current investment and project portfolios in Egypt and the finances it had extended - so far - to help the continent in navigating the crisis.
Ahram Online:In light of the AfDB’s latest African economic outlook report, how is the COVID-19 pandemic expected to affect the continent’s economy during 2021 and 2022?
Malinne Blomberg:The negative impact on economies has been massive. Africa has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa contracted by 2.1 percent in 2020. In just one year, the continent lost five years' worth of gains in terms of economic development. We expect to have turned the corner and Africa’s economic growth rate is projected to recover to 3.4 percent in 2021.
AfDB’s greatest and most urgent goal is to save as many lives as possible; reverse the trends; protect livelihoods and put Africa’s economy back on more resilient recovery pathways. That’s why we put in place up to $10 billion in a crisis response facility to help African governments and the private sector deal with the impact of COVID-19.