The South African economy contracted by 7% in 2020, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke has revealed.
Briefing the media on Gross Domestic Product figures for the fourth quarter of 2020, Maluleke said the decrease was despite the economy growing by 1,5% in the last three months of the year, giving an annualised growth rate of 6,3%. Maluleke said the positive growth recorded in the third and fourth quarters was not enough to offset the devastating impact of Covid-19 in the second quarter, when lockdown restrictions were at their most stringent.
“Economic activity for the entire year decreased by 7% in 2020 compared with 2019. If we explore the historical data, this is the biggest annual fall in economic activity the country has seen since at least 1946,” he said.
The Daily Maverick is quoting Mike Schussler of Economists.co.za as saying that historical data suggests the overall contraction was the biggest suffered by the South African economy since 1920, when a combination of the Spanish flu pandemic and drought triggered an 11,2% decline in output.