East AfricaEconomyNews

Locust, floods and virus set Uganda for slowest year since 1986

Uganda’s economy will probably expand at the slowest pace in more than three decades this year due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a locust invasion and floods, the World Bank said.

Gross domestic product will grow by 0.4% to 1.7%, compared with 5.6% last year, the lender said Wednesday in an economic update. That’ll be the lowest rate of expansion since 1986 and means that real per-capita GDP is contracting.

Global travel restrictions to contain the spread of the virus hurt Uganda’s tourism, trade and industry, and banking, as well as remittances and foreign direct investments, according to the Finance Ministry. The country has eased some lockdown measures, although it’s yet to open borders and allow passenger flights.

Uganda will probably only receive $670 million of the $1.9 billion it negotiated for its infrastructure projects and 2019-2020 spending plan as other creditor countries also battle the virus, the report said.

A locust invasion and flooding in Africa’s biggest coffee exporter earlier this year will probably weigh on agricultural output, the World Bank said. Still, the current-account deficit is projected to narrow to 8.8% of GDP this financial year from 10.4% in the previous year.