The World Bank today listed Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola as top regional economies that contributed about 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.
The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, said that Sub-Saharan Africa remained on course for economic growth of 3.1 percent this year, marginally slower than it previously forecast but faster than last year, based on rising commodity prices.
Sub-Saharan African economies were hit hard by a crash in commodity prices which slowed growth, slashed government revenues and weakened several of the currencies on the continent. Growth was 1.5 percent in 2016, the lowest in more than two decades, before rising to an estimated 2.6 percent last year.
Lagarde stressed that by 2020 growth in the region should pick up to 3.7 percent.
“While Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola are expected to see a gradual pick-up in growth, economic expansion will continue at a solid pace in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and strengthen in most of East Africa,” the bank said in its Africa’s Pulse report for April.
“These forecasts are predicated on the expectations that oil and metals prices will remain stable, expansion in global trade will stay robust, and external financial market conditions will continue to be supportive.”
In January, the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report forecast growth in sub-Saharan Africa would rise to 3.2 percent in 2018.
The bank noted that Nigeria was experiencing a recovery in oil output, pointing out however that hurdles in non-oil industries and services will be a drag on activity.
“In Angola, the revisions reflect the expectation that a more efficient foreign exchange allocation system, increased the availability of foreign exchange due to higher oil prices, rising natural gas production, and improved business sentiment would help support the rebound in economic activity,” the bank said.
Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist, Africa, said this on Wednesday in Washington, at the launch of Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank that though growth had rebounded in Africa, it was not enough as the continent was still far from the pre-crisis growth levels.
He said the growth forecasts were premised on expectations that the prices of oil and metals would remain stable, adding that the forecast was also based on expectation that governments in the region would implement reforms to address macroeconomic imbalances and boost investment.
Zeufack also said Africa must leverage on innovation to provide access to affordable and sustainable electricity.
“African governments must speed up and deepen macroeconomic and structural reforms to achieve high and sustained levels of growth.
“By fully embracing technology and leveraging innovation, Africa can boost productivity across and within sectors, and accelerate growth,” said Zeufack.