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North Africa Economic Outlook 2020: An Unparalleled Crisis and a Conditional Recovery

This year, the region will face an economic contraction forecast between 0.8 and 2.3 percent; socioeconomic stability, social inclusion and human capital development are prerequisites for resilience and emerging from the crisis.

The tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa are likely to be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the 2020 edition of the North Africa Economic Outlook report, recently published by the African Development Bank.

Faced with an unparalleled crisis, the region’s countries implemented health and budget measures to curb the spread of the virus and protect their populations. The economic slowdown, due to disruptions across several sectors, has had large-scale socioeconomic consequences.

The rapidity with which economic and other restrictions are being lifted in North Africa is raising uncertainty and suggests two distinct recovery scenarios. The first is based on a timeline for emerging from the crisis in July. The second is based on the pandemic lasting through December of this year.

Under the first scenario, regional growth would fall by 5,2 percentage points, resulting in a decline in growth of ‑0,8 percent. In the second scenario, growth would fall by 6,7 percentage points, leading to a ‑2,3 percent decline. However, economic recovery is forecast for 2021, with regional growth of between three percent and 3,3 percent.

The North Africa Economic Outlook 2020 shows that the services, tourism and industrial sectors, which are the main contributors to the regional economy, have been severely affected by the numerous restrictions associated with the COVID-19 response.