North Africa economic outlook 2021

Real gross domestic product growth in North Africa was largely negative in 2020, at -1.1% with a -5.1 percentage point drop over 2019, the African Development Bank’s 2021 edition of the North Africa Economic Outlook reports. Released on November 3, the report finds that in 2020, North African economies experienced three shocks: the Covid-19 pandemic, a collapse in oil prices and a steep drop in tourism. Growth was also cut short due, in part, to sharp contractions in the region’s main trading partners. This output loss was found to be less severe than projected on account of prompt interventions by governments to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Egypt managed to achieve positive growth (+3.6%), one of the few countries in the world to do so in 2020. On the other hand, Libya’s economy contracted by -60.3%, Tunisia’s by -8.8%, Morocco’s by -7.1%, Algeria’s by -4.6%, and Mauritania’s by 3.6%. Overall, macroeconomic variables of regional countries deteriorated. The average fiscal deficit nearly doubled (from 5.7% of GDP in 2019 to 11.6% in 2020) and the current account deficit extended from 4.9% to 8.8% of GDP.