International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
A year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the race between vaccine and virus entered a new phase in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the path to recovery in 2021 is expected to be long and divergent. The outlook will vary significantly across countries, depending on the pandemic’s path, vaccine rollouts, underlying fragilities, exposure to tourism and contact-intensive sectors, and policy space and actions. 2021 will be the year of policies that continue saving lives and livelihoods and promote recovery, while balancing the need for debt sustainability and financial resilience. At the same time, policymakers must not lose sight of the transformational challenges to build forward better and accelerate the creation of more inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and green economies. Regional and international cooperation will be key complements to strong domestic policies.
The Nigerian economy is at a critical juncture. A weak pre-crisis economy characterized by falling per capita income, double-digit inflation, significant governance vulnerabilities and limited buffers, is grappling with multiple shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. Real output is projected to contract by 3.2 percent in 2020, with a weak recovery likely to keep per capita income stagnant and no higher than the 2010 level in the medium term. Policy adjustment and reforms are urgently needed to navigate this crisis and change the long-running lackluster course.