Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the first recession in thirty years in 2020 due to the COVID-19 shock. The global recession weighed on external demand and pandemic-related shutdowns on domestic activity. However, commodity prices fared better than expected, and the virus spread less than in other regions. Oil exporters were hit hardest, while countries with more diversified export bases appear less affected. The economic slowdown has had a strong effect on countries’ fiscal positions, and policy space is scarce. As a result, debt is rising across the region, and many countries are seeking relief through the G20 DSSI. Improved market sentiment has led to a return of foreign investors and alleviated financing pressure. Growth is expected to rebound strongly in 2021 where macro and policy environments are supportive. Risks, however, skew to the downside and stem from a second COVID-19 wave and poliical instability.