Despite Covid-19 ravaging economies across the world, including Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states, Malawi has registered—though abysmal—a 0.9 percent economic growth rate, one of the lowest the lowest rates the country has achieved in decades in terms of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate.
Tanzania is well ahead with a 4.8 percent 2020 growth and economic experts say the growth was triggered by late President John Magufuli’s policies on coronavirus that included not imposing lockdowns.
A “draft annotated agenda” by the SADC Council of Ministers dated August 6 2021 to be presented on Friday, admits that most SADC member states were in recession.
A recession is a period of economic decline during which trade and industrial activity shrinks and is generally manifested by a fall in GDP.
“All member States recorded contractions in real GDP growth in 2020 except for Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania who recorded minimal growth rates not exceeding 5.5 percent,” reads the Council of Ministers’ report.
In spite of registering the meagre growths, both Malawi and Tanzania failed to meet the desirable growth rate benchmark for sub-Saharan Africa of six percent which development economists say meaningfully impact on poverty reduction efforts.
“In terms of GDP, preliminary data indicates SADC regional GDP growth contracted by 4.7 percent in 2020. For the 2021/22 financial year, SADC forecasts the regional economy to grow by 2 percent in 2021 and 3.2 percent in 2022.
“The forecast economic recovery in 2021 and beyond is largely hinging on measures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 and mitigate its socio-economic impacts, which include the enhancement of national and regional capacities in producing medicines, medical supplies, and developing vaccines, and harnessing digital technology across sectors,” reads the report.
Peter Yakobe, an international development expert, Yakobe said failure by most member States to grow their economies last year as reflected in the SADC report was symptomatic of the harsh macroeconomic environment that most countries are passing through in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Of course, almost each and every member State boasts of a different or unique economic landscape, but the common denominator is that Covid-19 had affected each and every country, of course by different magnitude or level,” Yakobe is quoted as saying in local press.
At global level, the Covid-19 pandemic is said to have triggered the deepest global recession since World War Two.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :