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World Economic Situation Prospects Report 2020 launches in South Africa

Pretoria – There is a fear that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda may not be realized if the economic situation globally does not change. This is according to Dr. Kirsten Thompson, the Director of Research at Plus Economics, when she presented the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 report today in Sandton, Johannesburg.
“While economic conditions remain robust in East Africa and are slightly improving in North and West Africa, growth in Central and Southern Africa is largely subdued,” says the report. “Rising numbers of people in extreme poverty, elevated public debt and lack of diversification are key medium-term challenges.”
According to report, an annual flagship publication produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with contribution from various other UN entities, “growth in South Africa remains below potential amid weak investment, energy shortages and high unemployment.” The economy of Zimbabwe, the report says, “is experiencing a severe crisis amid foreign currency shortages, elevated public debt and uncontrolled inflation. The recession in Angola is expected to continue amid declining oil output and difficulties in attracting foreign investments.”
Africa’s economic outlook faces several downside risks. On the domestic front, agricultural output is highly exposed to weather-related shocks, with potential for dire economic and social consequences. In addition, political conflicts, social instability and security concerns are major downside risks across the continent and can affect the short-term outlook in many countries in the region.
On the external front, a further deterioration in global growth could significantly affect the outlook in Africa through several channels, including reduced demand and commodity prices, lower capital inflows and foreign direct investment, and lower income from remittances and tourism.
However, Dr. Thompson adds that with good policies and their implementation, the economic situation could change leaving room for the creation of an enabling environment that would encourage development and employment.
In her statement, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, the UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, said, “The global economic context painted above and its impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-oriented investments fits hand in glove to the South African situation. Its economy has experienced considerable slowdown over the past 10 to 15 years which has had negative impacts on its ability to make progressive social investments.”
Ms. Bekele-Thomas also called on all everyone to be an activist of the SDGs as we enter this Decade of Action, emphasizing that we only have 10 years to deliver the world we want, the world we need and we should all have our hands on deck.
The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/wespreport
Photos of today’s event can be accessed HERE.
For further information, please contact: UNIC Associate Public Information Officer, Zeenat Abdool at 012 354 8507 or on Cell: 082 77 88 080 or abdool@un.org