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Sub-Saharan Africa GDP Growth To Rise To 3.1pct In 2018 – World Bank | The Precision

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File Photo: Farmers in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is on course for economic growth of 3.1 percent
this year, the World Bank said on Wednesday, marginally slower than it
previously forecast but faster than last year thanks to rising commodity
prices.

By 2020 growth in the region should pick up to 3.7 percent, it said.
Sub-Saharan
African economies were hit hard by a crash in commodity prices which
slowed growth, slashed government revenues and weakened several of the
continent’s currencies. 
Growth was 1.5 percent in 2016, the lowest in more than two decades, before rising to an estimated 2.6 percent last year. 
“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. 
Nigeria, South Africa and Angola make up about 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual GDP. 
The
bank said Nigeria was experiencing a recovery in oil output but hurdles
in non-oil industries and services would be a drag on activity. 
“In
Angola, the revisions reflect the expectation that a more efficient
foreign exchange allocation system, increased 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. 
“In South Africa, slowing inflation and
improving business confidence are expected to help sustain the ongoing
recovery in domestic demand, especially in investment.” 
The bank said that while growth prospects were encouraging, there were still hurdles ahead. 
“Growth
in the non-oil industrial sectors has yet to pick up, underscoring the
low structural transformation in the region; employment opportunities
are lagging; public debt relative to GDP is rising; and poverty is
widespread,” the report said. 
It added that African countries in
debt distress doubled to eight in the last five years, while those at
high risk of going into debt distress had jumped to 18 from eight in the
same period.

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