COVID-19 MAINTAINS LINGERING ECONOMIC DISRUPTION IN NIGERIA
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Program reported that approximately 20 percent of workers in Nigeria lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the joint research examining the pandemic’s impact on Africa’s largest economy uncovered a staggering 33 percent unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020. Informal-sector workers particularly struggled to access credit and funding to stay open as commerce slowed. Notably, losses across sectors were not uniform, as more than half of the businesses surveyed managed to retain their staffing levels, a finding which the authors say suggests that Nigeria maintained “pockets of resilience” throughout the pandemic.
In related news, on Wednesday, JP Morgan announced markedly lower economic growth forecasts for Nigeria than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central Bank of Nigeria. JP Morgan now predicts that the Nigerian economy, which contracted by 1.79 percent in 2020, will grow by only 1.5 percent in 2021. The IMF and Central Bank of Nigeria had estimated GDP growth to be about 2.5 and 3 percent, respectively, for the country this year. JP Morgan explained its prediction of a weaker outlook on the country’s “continued lack of foreign-exchange liquidity, underlying economic weakness, an emerging third wave of Covid-19 infections and a slow rollout of vaccines will likely slow the recovery process.”
For more commentary on COVID-19’s impacts on Nigeria’s economy, see: “Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nigerian economy.” For more on strategies for creating jobs for Africa’s youth, see the paper, “Addressing youth unemployment in Africa through industries without smokestacks: A synthesis on prospects, constraints, and policies.”
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