Economic Outlook In Sub-Saharan Africa; Growth To Reach 3.4 Per Cent Next Year

The latest IMF world economic and financial surveys show that the rate which stood at 1.4 per cent in 2016 will continue to pickup, though momentum is weak.

The economic growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 3.4 per cent in 2018, a recent bi-annual report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has shown. The October 2017 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, made public in Yaounde yesterday December 20, 2017, indicates that the broad-based slowdown in the region is easing.

According to the outlook, “ growth is expected to pick up from 1.4 per cent in 2016 to 2.6 per cent in 2017, reflecting one-off factors – particularly, the rebound in Nigeria’s oil and agricultural production, the easing of drought conditions that impacted much of eastern and southern Africa in 2016 and early 2017 – and a more supportive external environment.”

While the growth rate for 2018 is projected at 3.4 per cent, it is likely to remain below past trends in 2019, the study suggests. While 15 out of the 45 countries under review have a growth rate of at least 5 per cent, growth in the region as a whole will barely surpass the rate of population increase, and in 12 countries, comprising 40 per cent of the Sub-Saharan Africa’s population, income per capita is expected to decline.

Going by the outlook, many countries are facing rising vulnerabilities on the domestic front as public debt rose above 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 22 countries at the end of 2016. The study suggests that servicing debt has become a burden, especially in oil-producing countries.

Fiscal risks too are beginning to materialize in several fast-growing non-resource-intensive countries, partly reflecting security developments and a decline in cocoa prices. Many faster growing economies are also said to be continuously driven by public spending, with debt levels and debt service costs rising.

At the sub-regional level of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the study points out that growth remains subdued, with non-oil GDP growth in Cameroon keeping growth in the sub-region in the positive.

According to the Resident Representative of the IMF in Cameroon, Kadima Kalonji, Cameroon has been more resilient than the other CEMAC countries because of its economic diversification.

The Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey said the 2018 budget has been structured in such a way that it would guarantee the sustainability of public finance and the stimulation of the private sector.

“Budget adjustment is important in the face of economic difficulties created by the drop in oil and global commodity prices,” Minister Alamine noted.

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