The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concerns over insecurity and poverty in Nigeria and advised that pragmatic solutions should be sought to stem the tide. It also noted that galloping inflation, rising geopolitical tension and financial instability were jolting many countries and called for concerted efforts to tackle the malaises capable of ruining its ambitious economic reforms and fundraising agenda. The President of the World Bank, David Malpass, made these calls on Thursday, at a media briefing in Washington DC on the sidelines of 2023. Malpass said that the Nigerian economy is set to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2023, down from 3.3 per cent in 2022, as a result of the aforementioned challenges and more. He said: “Growth of 2.8% projected for Nigeria in 2023. Shared prosperity is our concern. Nigeria needs many changes. GDP is oil-based and many are facing poverty and insecurity in the northern and western regions. The World Bank is working on an economic system to be more productive. The dual exchange rate regime is also a concern and this has made things so expensive for Nigerians. High inflation is not allowing for diversification,” he said. According to him, the twin blight of a shaky exit from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered economic tremors that have left most economies vulnerable, especially the low-income nations that are neck-deep in debt. He noted that plans were afoot to address global credit disruption and normalise interest rates across jurisdictions. He said: “It’ll take time for assets to appreciate. We need to have policies to engender more growth and break out of the cycle where capital is given to those who already have money. Capital depletion should be checked. We want to see living standards go up in a sustainable way. There should be a stronger focus on sustainability and resilience. We’re strengthening our services to all clients. The international bank for Reconstruction and Development is working on scaling up bilateral guarantee programmes and will realise $50 in funds. We are working on ways to reduce debts. There should be good information sharing on debt sustainability, timeliness and working out structures to achieve all these. “Restructuring loans is key too. Regional markets in Africa are slowing down. This needs urgent addressing.“ The true success of the World Bank is about people who are doing well. My hope is to get a breakthrough on debt overhangs. The World Bank went through COVID, which was hard on clients. We moved to provide $150bn support. Russia’s invasion and its effects on food and energy shortages are what we are addressing. We have worked to make new investments” he added. Meanwhile the bank, in its Africa Pulse Report April 2023 edition titled “Leveraging resource wealth during the low carbon transition” said the economic growth is expected to accelerate slightly to an average annual rate of 3 per cent in 2024–25. On the production side, the report added that growth in 2023 will be supported by industry (with a growth of 5.6 per cent) with the mega-refinery project. The report said the economic performance of Sub-Saharan Africa is not uniform across subregions and countries. It explained that the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the Western and Central Africa (AFW) subregion is estimated to decline to 3.4 per cent in 2023, from 3.7 per cent in 2022, while that of Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE) declines to 3.0 per cent in 2023, from 3.5 per cent in 2022.“The region’s performance is still dragged down by lower growth of the largest countries in the continent.“Economic activity in South Africa is set to weaken further in 2023 (0.5 per cent) as the energy crisis deepens, while the growth recovery in Nigeria for 2023 (2.8 per cent) is still fragile as oil production remains subdued and the new administration faces many policy challenges,” it said.

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