Sub-Saharan Africa to grow at a slower rate this year, World Bank says

Pedestrians shop at a busy Balogun Market in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Two of Africa's leading economies, South Africa and Nigeria, say they have emerged from recession releasing figures Tuesday showing economic growth in the second quarter of 2017. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)/XSA107/17248554694285/1709051756

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be 2.4 percent in 2017, the World Bank said on Wednesday, down from the 2.6 percent projected in April.


It said the downgrade was due to a number of reasons, including Nigeria’s failing to meet expectations but also broader conditions.

“Regional per capita output growth is forecast to be negative for the second consecutive year, while investment growth remains low, and productivity growth is falling,” it said.

Growth across the region, however, was seen rising 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5%  in 2019, forecasts unchanged from earlier this year.

In its latest Africa Pulse report, the Bank said the region would be helped by better commodity prices.

Growth driven by two largest economies

Sub-Saharan African economies have been hit by lower commodity prices which slowed growth in the last few years, cutting government revenues.

Albert Zeufack, World Bank chief economist for Africa, said the region’s growth recovery would partly be driven by the continent’s two largest economies – Nigeria and South Africa – exiting recession.

He said the two countries need “deeper reforms” to get back to pre-2014 levels of growth and their political uncertainty needs to be reined in. He said they make up about half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP growth.

The World Bank said Nigeria’s economy, the largest in the continent, was expected to expand by 1% in 2017.

South Africa’s economy, hit by political worries, was expected to grow just 0.6% this year.

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