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Malawi revises down 2020 growth forecast to 1.9% on COVID-19 impact

BLANTYRE, June 5 (Reuters) - Malawi has revised downwards its economic growth forecast for 2020 to 1.9% from an earlier projection of 5.1% because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Peter Mutharika said in a state of the nation address on Friday.

That would be a sharp drop on GDP growth in 2019 of around 5%, but Mutharika expected growth to rebound to 4.5% next year.

Malawi has only recorded some 360 cases of the new coronavirus, but as elsewhere in Africa the economic impact has been severe.

“Health experts have warned us to brace for the worst. Business has slowed down, and revenue collection will be undermined. It’s under this context that we’re going to base the 2020/21 budget,” Mutharika said. (Reporting by Frank Phiri Writing by Tim Cocks Editing by Alexander Winning)