World Bank has said that Africa faces the challenge of sustaining growth amid weak global conditions.
The Bank pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa countries are continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace, due to a more challenging economic environment.
According to new World Bank projections, growth will slow in 2015 to 3.7 percent from 4.6 percent in 2014, reaching the lowest growth rate since 2009.
These latest figures are outlined in the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, the twice-yearly analysis of economic trends and the latest data on the continent.
The 2015 forecast remains below the robust 6.5 percent growth in GDP which the region sustained in 2003-2008, and drags below the 4.5 percent growth following the global financial crisis in 2009-2014.
Overall, growth in the region is projected to pick up to 4.4percent in 2016, and further strengthen to 4.8percent in 2017.
Africa’s Pulse says “sharp drops in the price of oil and other commodities have brought on the recent weakness in growth. Other external factors such as China’s economic slowdown and tightening global financial conditions weigh on Africa’s economic performance.”
Compounding these factors, bottlenecks in supplying electricity in many African countries hampered economic growth in 2015, it added.
World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop said “The end of the commodity super-cycle poses an opportunity for African countries to reinvigorate their reform efforts and thereby transform their economies and diversify sources of growth. Implementing the right policies to boost agricultural productivity, and reduce electricity costs while expanding access, will improve competitiveness and support the growth of light manufacturing.”
According to Africa’s Pulse, several countries are continuing to post robust growth. Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania are expected to sustain growth at around 7 percent or more per year in 2015-17, spurred by investments in energy and transport, consumer spending and investment in the natural resources sector.
Africa’s Pulse found that progress in reducing income poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa has been occurring faster than previously thought.
According to World Bank estimates poverty in Africa declined from 56 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012.
At the same time, Africa’s population saw progress in all dimensions of well-being, particularly in health (maternal mortality, under-5 mortality) and primary school enrollment, where the gender gap shrank.
“The dramatic, ongoing drop in commodity prices has put pressure on rising fiscal deficits, adding to the challenge in countries with depleted policy buffers,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, Acting Chief Economist, World Bank Africa and the report’s author. “To withstand new shocks, governments in the region should improve the efficiency of public expenditures, such as prioritizing key investments, and strengthen tax administration to create fiscal space in their budgets.”
Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will be repeatedly tested as new shocks occur in the global economic environment, underscoring the need for Governments to embark on structural reforms to alleviate domestic impediments to growth, the report notes.
Investments in new energy capacity, attention to drought and its effects on hydropower, reform of state-owned distribution companies, and renewed focus on encouraging private investment will help build resiliency in the power sector.
The Report says governments can boost revenues through taxes and improved tax compliance; complementing these efforts, governments can improve the efficiency of public expenditures to create fiscal space in their budget.


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