Central Africa Economic Outlook 2021

Central African governments introduced several socioeconomic measures after COVID-19 first surfaced. CEMAC countries and the Democratic Republic of Congo enacted stimulus measures equivalent to several percentage points of GDP, combining tax relief and liquidity injections with spending for public health measures and social sectors. These have varied by country depending on political economies. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is on a flexible exchange rate system, has used its exchange rate to actively respond to the shock. In CEMAC countries monetary policy became more accommodative; in July 2020 the Bank of Central African States started repurchasing public debt securities totaling CFAF 600 billion ($1.04 billion). Though there are potential risks, the regional outlook remains favorable for a post-COVID recovery. Countries are expected to rebound to average 3.3 percent GDP growth in 2021, mostly thanks to higher oil prices. Successful containment and the global recovery have helped revive activity in CEMAC countries. The main risks remain new variants of the coronavirus, slow vaccination rollouts, and security issues—especially in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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