A recent report by the United Nations has revealed that the Nigerian economy has been severely affected by a shortage of cash, triggered by the replacement of the country’s highest denominations. The report, titled “Trade and Development Report Update; Global Trends and Prospects (April 2023),” noted that the shortage of cash mainly affected the informal sector, which has a significant impact on the country’s economy.
The report further highlighted that the continuing decline of oil production in Nigeria, accompanied by large-scale oil theft, poses a significant threat to the country’s finances. These factors have contributed to the country’s strained finances, making it difficult to achieve sustainable economic growth.
The report also projected a drop in the continent’s economy by 2.5%, which is a significant reduction from last year. Weaker external demand and tighter financial conditions have made growth prospects gloomier for the region. In the case of commodity exporters, the fading of the initial effects of the 2022 price boom will add to the equation.
The report further noted that rising global interest rates have triggered significant capital outflows and have further constrained fiscal space, at a time when public finances were already severely affected by costly subsidy schemes aimed at contending with the adverse effects of high food and energy prices.
Inflation remained in double digits in approximately half of the African countries early in 2023, with public debt standing at levels not seen since the early 2000s. Out of the 38 African countries that are part of the Debt Sustainability Framework (DSF) of the IMF and World Bank, eight entities are already in debt distress, while 13 are considered at high risk of distress.
The report’s findings indicate that African countries need to take proactive steps to address these economic challenges to achieve sustainable growth and development. It is crucial to create policies that will stimulate growth, promote investment, and support small and medium-sized enterprises.
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