Harare – Inflation rose in several Southern African countries in March 2021 as economies reacted to pressures such as the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising food prices.
The annual inflation rate in Malawi accelerated for the fourth consecutive month to 9.4 percent in, reaching its highest level since April 2020.
Food inflation peaked to an eight-month high of 11.7 percent from 10.3 percent in the previous month. At the same time, prices advanced faster for non-food inflation (6.9 percent vs 6.3 percent in February).
The annual inflation rate in Mozambique rose for the seventh straight month to 5.76 percent, its highest since November 2017.
According to Trading Economics, the country is battling a continuous escalation in the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages (12.65 percent vs 11.51 percent in February). Additional upward pressure came from housing and utilities (6.05 percent vs 5.46 percent), and clothing and footwear (3.61 percent vs 3.26 percent).
In Namibia, the March 2021 annual inflation rate increased by 3.1 percent compared to 2.4 percent recorded in March 2020. On a monthly basis, the inflation rate increased to 0.5 percent compared to 0.4 percent a month earlier.
The growth in the annual inflation rate was mainly a result of increases in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages (6.6 percent vs 5.5 percent in February), transport (2.4 percent vs 0.2 percent), and furniture (4.1 percent vs 3.5 percent).
On a monthly basis, consumer prices were up 0.5 percent, after increasing 0.4 percent in the previous month.
The consumer price index in Botswana increased 0.8 percent in March on the previous month’s figure of 3.2 percent. The main contributors to the increase were housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.3 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.5 percent); and transport (0.4 percent).
The Zambia Statistics Agency reported that the annual inflation rate for March increased to 22.8 percent from 22.2 percent in February.
The increase in the annual rate of inflation was mainly attributed to price increases in both food and non-food items. This was mainly attributed to increases in prices of food items such as meats, fruits, milk, eggs, sugar and cooking oil.
On the other hand, Tanzania’s annual inflation rate eased to 3.2 percent in March 2021 from 3.3 percent the previous month, as prices slowed down in housing and utilities (3.7 percent vs 4.4 percent in February) and transport (0.5 percent vs one percent).
Zimbabwe, too, experienced a decrease in the inflation rate to 240.55 percent in March from 321.59 percent in February.