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Global trade will grow by 8% in 2021, says Okonjo-Iweala

Global trade will grow by 8% in 2021, says Okonjo-Iweala
April 08
18:50 2021

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says global trade will increase by eight percent in 2021.

She disclosed this during a debate on the global economy organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the 2021 spring meetings, on Thursday.

Other panelists during the debate include Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of IMF; Paschal Donohoe, finance minister of Ireland; and Jerome Powell, chairman of United States federal reserve.

Okonjo-Iweala said trade contacted five percent in 2020 but added that the global economy has shown increased resilience despite the impact of COVID-19.

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She noted that amid lockdown measures initiate in different countries, trade in medical supplies and equipment went up by 16% while trade in supply of personal protective equipment grew by 50%.

“Trade contacted by five percent last year, actually less than we thought. I would like to say that trade has been quite resilient even though we have had issues like export restrictions and prohibitions, you can see that during the pandemic, supply chains were very resilient,” she said.

“In spite of the contraction, we have trade in medical supplies and equipment up by 16% and trade in supply of personal protective equipment up by 50%. So I think trade has contributed to mitigating the effect of the pandemic in some ways and of course it could do more.

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“The good news is that our forecasts show that trade will be up by eight percent this year. But within that figure there is considerable divergence. We see import and export in North America and Asia rebounding quite faster than Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The divergence we see in recovery is reflected also in divergence in trade.”

TheCable had reported that the IMF also lifted its global economic growth forecast for 2021 to six percent — the strongest annual growth in more than four decades, up from the 5.2 percent it anticipated in October.

The rebound comes after a 3.3 percent contraction in 2020.

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