Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth remains below 3%

Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth remains below 3%

World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack

The economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa for 2018 is 2.3%, according to the April 2019 issue of Africa’s Pulse.

Africa’s Pulse is the World Bank’s bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies

This is a reduction from 2.5% recorded in 2017.

This implies that economic growth is still below population growth for the fourth consecutive year. It is projected that regional growth will rebound to 2.8% in 2019. However, it will still be below 3% since 2015.

This issue of Africa’s Pulse also looks at how fragility is holding back sub-Saharan Africa and how the digital economy can help the continent move forward.

World Bank Chief Economist for Africa Albert Zeufack said, “The digital transformation can increase growth by nearly two percentage points per year and reduce poverty by nearly one percentage point per year in sub-Saharan Africa alone. This is a game-changer for Africa.”

The overall growth of sub-Saharan Africa reflects ongoing global uncertainty but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly-managed debt, inflation, and deficits; political and regulatory uncertainty, and fragility.

These factors are having negative effects on some African economies.

In Nigeria, growth reached 1.9% in 2018, up from 0.8% in 2017 – indicating a modest pick-up in the economy. In the third quarter of 2018, South Africa came out of recession, but growth was subdued at 0.8% over the year as policy uncertainty held back investment. Angola, the region’s third-largest economy, remained in recession – with growth falling sharply as oil production stayed weak.

Growth picked up in some resource-intensive-countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger, as stronger mining production and commodity prices boosted activity alongside a rebound in agricultural production and public investment in infrastructure. In others, like Liberia and Zambia, growth was subdued as high inflation and elevated debt levels continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

In the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, a fragile recovery continued as reform efforts to reduce fiscal and external imbalances slowed in some countries. Non-resource-intensive economies such as Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and several in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, including Benin and Côte d’Ivoire recorded solid economic growth in 2018.

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