The mineral-rich region - which comprises 46 of the 54 countries in the continent below the Sahara - is expected to see its economy contract by 1.6% this year as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are felt, according to the latest forecast by the International Monetary Fund.
It is the worst reading for the region on record by the 189-country-member organization, and it reflects the rising humanitarian costs, large disruptions to production and supply chains, and reduction in labor supply due to the sickness or death that the virus is bringing.
The figure is also a downward revision of 5.2 percentage points from the IMF’s October 2019 forecast and is compounded by a sharp decline in commodity prices - and not just oil, but most products except coffee and gold.
As if this wasn’t bad enough for the region, it is also facing several external shocks.
The biggest among these is related to...