Sub-Saharan Africa’s set to grow at 2.6 percent in 2017 – World Bank

Apr 21, 2017

The regional growth in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017 as economic growth rebounds in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016, the new Africa’s Pulse report by the World Bank has said.

Africa’s Pulse shows that the continent’s aggregate growth is expected to rise to 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2019, reflecting a recovery in the largest economies.

It will remain subdued for oil exporters, while metal exporters are projected to see a moderate uptick.

GDP growth in countries whose economies depend less on extractive commodities should remain robust, underpinned by infrastructure investments, resilient services sectors, and the recovery of agricultural production.

The Africa’s Pulse report, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies this time projects that there are signs of recovery within the region.

However, the recovery remains weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty.

The report revealed that, Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, are seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016, but their recovery has been slow due to insufficient adjustment to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty in the countries.

The latest Africa’s Pulse report also reveal that seven countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania) continue to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand, posting annual growth rates above 5.4% in 2015-2017.

The countries aforementioned the reports shows, house nearly 27% of the region’s population and account for 13% of the region’s total GDP as the global economic outlook is improving and should support the recovery in the region.

On the domestic front, risks to the current recovery stem from an inadequate pace of reforms, rising security threats, and political volatility ahead of elections in some countries.

Presenting the report World Bank’s Chief Economist for the Africa Region Albert G. Zeufack said “as countries move towards fiscal adjustment, we need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery.”

“We need to implement reforms that increase the productivity of African workers and create a stable macroeconomic environment. Better and more productive jobs are instrumental to tackling poverty on the continent,” he added.

Mr. Zeufack admonished African countries to undertake the much-needed development by spending while avoiding increasing debt to unsustainable levels.

According to him the African environment though has a weak economic growth, the continent is in dire need of necessary reforms to boost investment and tackle poverty, as government must promote public and private investment, to undertake infrastructure development, which he believes should be priority.

The new Africa’s Pulse report this time, dedicates a special section to analyzing the region’s infrastructure performance across sectors, which revealed dramatic improvements in quantity and quality of telecommunications contrasted by persistent lags in electricity generation and access.

The author of the Africa’s Pulse report and Lead Economist at the World Bank Punam Chuhan-Pole said “with poverty rates still high, regaining the growth momentum is imperative. Growth needs to be more inclusive and will involve tackling the slowdown in investment and the high trade logistics that stand in the way of competitiveness.”

Overall, the report calls for the urgent implementation of reforms to improve institutions that foster private sector growth, develop local capital markets, improve infrastructure, and strengthen domestic resource mobilization.

Source: Norvan Acquah - Hayford/thebftonline.com/Ghana

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