Although recent international vaccine approvals have raised hopes of a turnaround in the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, renewed waves and new variants of the virus pose concerns for this outlook.
However, a local economist believes if the vaccine rollout is affected efficiently domestically, Namibia can go back to work, full-time to school and some normalcy will return, which will be good for the economy.
Speaking to New Era, Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, a senior lecturer at the University of Namibia (Unam), said anything that will break Covid-19 restrictions will aid in increasing economic activities.
“A simple measure like lifting the curfew and restaurants operating in normal way or schools operating fully and not in shifts will be good for taxi operators and even for street corner vendors. And slowly but surely, tourism could be revived, with positive spillover for so many other factors,” outlined Kakujaha-Matundu.
Despite these challenges and amidst exceptional uncertainty, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) still projects the global economy to grow by 5.5% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022.
“The 2021 forecast is revised up 0.3 percentage points relative to the previous forecast, reflecting expectations of a vaccine-powered strengthening of activity later in the year and additional policy support in a few large economies,” states the fund.
According to IMF, the projected growth recovery this year follows a severe collapse in 2020 that has had acute adverse impacts on women, youth, the poor, the informally employed, and those who work in contact-intensive sectors.
The global growth contraction for 2020 is now estimated at -3.5%, which is still 0.9 percentage points higher than previously projected, reflecting stronger-than-expected momentum in the second half of 2020.
The strength of the recovery is projected to vary significantly across countries, depending on access to medical interventions, the effectiveness of policy support, exposure to cross-country spillovers, and structural characteristics entering the crisis.
“Strong multilateral cooperation is required to bring the pandemic under control everywhere. Such efforts include bolstering funding for the COVAX facility to accelerate access to vaccines for all countries, ensuring universal distribution of vaccines, and facilitating access to therapeutics at affordable prices for all,” outlines IMF.
Many countries, particularly low-income developing economies, entered the crisis with high debt that is set to rise further during the pandemic.
It noted that the global community will need to continue working closely to ensure adequate access to international liquidity for these countries. “Where sovereign debt is unsustainable, eligible countries should work with creditors to restructure their debt under the Common Framework agreed.”