By Babajide Okeowo
The World Bank has forecasted that Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2022 and by another 0.3 per cent in 2023.
The growth forecast was contained in the bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects.
“In Nigeria, growth is projected to strengthen somewhat to 2.5 per cent in 2022 and 2.8 per cent in 2023,” said the Washington-based institution in the section of the report which focused on recent developments in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The oil sector should benefit from higher oil prices, a gradual easing of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts, and domestic regulatory reforms.”
“Activity in service sectors is expected to firm as well, particularly in telecommunications and financial services.
“However, the reversal of pandemic-induced income and employment losses is expected to be slow; this, along with high food prices, restrains a faster recovery in domestic demand,” it added.
According to the bank, activity in the non-oil economy will remain curbed by high levels of violence and social unrest, as well as the threat of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups with remaining mobility restrictions being lifted guardedly because of low vaccination rates.
It stated that just about two per cent of the nation’s population had been fully vaccinated by the end of 2021.
The financial institution lamented that the pandemic has reversed at least a decade of gains in per capita income in Nigeria and some countries.
It explained that after barely increasing last year, per capita incomes were projected to recover only at a subdued pace, rising 1.1 per cent a year in 2022 – 23, leaving them almost two per cent below 2019 levels.
The World Bank stated that in some countries, the services and manufacturing sectors again reeled from the adverse impact of the pandemic, while high unemployment and elevated inflation dented consumer confidence.
While focusing on Nigeria’s north-east region and some Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, it said rising social unrest, insecurity, and civil conflicts have further restrained investment and consumer spending.
“Incoming indicators for major SSA economies point to renewed improvement in economic activity towards the end of 2021,” the report revealed. “Mobility indicators continued to recover as many economies eased social-distancing restrictions following a decline in new COVID-19 cases from the peak reached in mid-2021.
“However, the Omicron variant detected in late November is now contributing to COVID-19 flare-ups across the region, particularly in Eastern and Southern Africa. More than 70 per cent of SSA countries reported at least a 50 per cent increase in new COVID-19 cases during the last two weeks of 2021.”