Global Economic Growth To Slow Despite Falling Inflation – UN Report

The global GDP growth is projected to slow from 2.7 percent in 2023 to 2.4 percent in 2024,  according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2024 launched by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Growth is forecast to improve moderately to 2.7 percent in 2025 but will remain below the pre-pandemic trend growth rate of 3.0 percent.

Adam Elhiraika, Director, Macroeconomics and Governance Division of ECA said, tight financial conditions, coupled with a growing risk of geopolitical fragmentation, pose increasing risks to global trade and industrial production.

He said while the world economy avoided the worst-case scenario of a recession in 2023, a protracted period of low growth looms large. Growth prospects for many developing countries, especially vulnerable and low-income countries, have remained weak, making a full recovery of pandemic losses ever more elusive.

Mr Elhiraika noted that the world economy proved more resilient than expected in 2023 amid significant monetary tightening and lingering policy uncertainties worldwide, even as multiple shocks arising from conflict and climate change which will affect the lives and livelihoods of millions, further jeopardizing progress towards sustainable development.

The report indicates that developing countries face divergent near-term growth prospects. The economic growth in Africa he said is projected to remain weak, increasing from an average of 3.3 percent in 2023 to 3.5 percent in 2024.

On inflation, the report says that after surging for two years, global inflation eased in 2023 but remained above the 2010-2019 average. Global headline inflation fell from 8.1 percent in 2022, the highest value in almost three decades, to an estimated 5.7 percent in 2023.

Hopestone Chavula, ECA Economic Affairs Officer who presented the report highlighted that although global inflation is ebbing, food price inflation can exacerbate food insecurity and poverty. After surging for two years, global inflation eased in 2023 but remained above the 2010-2019 average.

Monetary tightening by major developed country central banks will have significant spillover effects on developing countries.

The report further mentioned that global investment trends will remain weak. Global investment growth is likely to remain subdued. Real gross fixed capital formation grew by an estimated 1.9 percent in 2023, down from 3.3 percent in 2022 and far below the average growth rate of 4.0 percent during the period 2011- 2019.

International trade is losing steam as a driver of growth. In 2023, global trade growth weakened significantly to an estimated 0.6 percent, a sharp decline from 5.7 percent in 2022. It is expected to recover to 2.4 percent in 2024, remaining below the pre-pandemic trend of 3.2 percent. This slowdown, notes the report, is attributed to a slump in merchandise trade. By contrast, trade in services, particularly tourism and transport, continued to recover.

The report also stated that industrial policy, which is increasingly seen as crucial for fostering structural changes and supporting a green transition is being revived and transformed. This shift is aimed at fixing market failures and aligning innovation with broader development goals. Innovation policies are also changing, with more ambitious, systemic, and strategic approaches being employed.

On meeting the SDGs by 2030, the report indicates that strengthening multilateralism will accelerate SDGs progress. “The world remains vulnerable to disruptive shocks, including a rapidly unfolding climate crisis and escalating conflicts. The urgency and imperative of achieving sustainable development underscore that strong global cooperation is needed now more than ever,” says the report.

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