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World Bank, Washington, DC
2021-08-23T15:47:57Z | 2021-08-23T15:47:57Z | 2021-08-12

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented economic disruption globally. The full scope of the virus’s impact on human health and economic activity remains to be seen, but two things are clear: (1) the most fragile economies, and most vulnerable segments of the world’s population, are least able to mitigate the impact, and (2) reliable and affordable utility services, electricity, water and sanitation, and internet and telephony, are critically important in slowing the spread of the virus. Many utility service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa were, in 2019, already under financial duress. The COVID-19 health crisis has and will continue to exacerbate such duress and jeopardize their ability to provide essential services. As the region faces its first recession in a quarter century, economic growth is expected to decline from 2.4 percent in 2019 to between –2.1 and –5.1 percent in 2020. Fiscal deficits are projected to widen amid falling government revenues. The harmful impacts on the energy sectors of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to far exceed those on other sectors.


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