The Sub-Saharan Africa outlook shows that multi-speed recovery will continue into 2022. All markets will exhibit growth, but economic trajectories will continue to diverge throughout the year. Deep-rooted structural problems in South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola will curtail growth prospects in these markets, whereas pro-business reforms, healthy export revenues, and supportive conditions for consumers contribute to strong economic prospects in most other SSA markets.

Private sector activity—both consumer and B2B—will offer the region’s strongest growth opportunities for MNCs, but tourism and healthcare remain vulnerable to future COVID waves because of SSA’s slow vaccine rollout. Government finances, meanwhile, face chronic pressure and will offer limited new sales opportunities for companies selling to the public sector. Elevated cost pressures, which will force companies to review their prices more frequently, will persist into Q2.

To succeed in 2022, MNCs should ensure their assumptions and goals are tailored to local business dynamics and support local partners facing elevated operating costs and weak demand in markets enduring delicate recoveries.

Uneven economic performance continues in 2022

South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola’s deep-rooted structural problems mean their economies will lag the region’s otherwise upbeat growth prospects. In contrast, many medium- and smaller-sized markets will enjoy healthy growth thanks to pro-business reforms, healthy foreign investor sentiment, improving conditions for consumers, and strong export revenues.

A faltering vaccine rollout is unlikely to disrupt growth prospects

Tourist and business travel face disruption, because no SSA market will fully vaccinate 80% of its population before 2023. Non-COVID healthcare faces risks because of vulnerability to future COVID waves. However, economic recoveries are unlikely to be threatened, as governments will maintain light commercial restrictions to protect livelihoods.

Elevated cost pressures will begin to ease from Q2 2022

2021’s inflation spike (that has sapped profitability) will gradually give way to moderately lower cost and price pressures in 2022. This will be driven by a gradual easing of global shipping bottlenecks in Q2 and continued currency stability in most (but not all) markets. Moderating commodity prices will curtail imported inflation for food and fuel as the year progresses.

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