CAPE TOWN- Africa’s medium-term economic growth appears”steady,” with the continent’s average growth projected to accelerate by roughly 5 per cent in 2014 and reach up to 6 per cent in 2015,according to an African Economic Outlook report released Monday and published by dpa.
The continent had proven its “resilience to global and regional headwinds,” noted the report published annually by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme and African Development Bank.
Economic growth varied widely by country and region, however.
In sub-Sahara Africa, economies are projected to grow by 5.8 per cent this year.
If South Africa – where labour unrest and weak foreign exchange rates are expected to slow growth to 2.7 per cent – were excluded, the region would reach an impressive 6.8 per cent growth in 2014.
East and West Africa will be sub-Sahara Africa’s fastest growing regions, with growth rates rising above 7 per cent in 2014 and 2015,mainly driven by Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria.
Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and conflict-ridden Mali also show robust growth prospects.
In East Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are projected to grow by up to 7.5 per cent by 2015, mainly due to improvements in agriculture, industry and services.
The region’s powerhouse, Kenya, is set to grow a little under 6 percent this year, driven by exports, private investment, finance,information and communication technologies as well as construction.
In conflict-rife Sudan and South Sudan growth is likely to remain volatile due to disruptions of oil production.
In Central Africa, growth prospects are favourable for oil-rich Chadas well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo,Gabon and Cameroon.
Strife-torn Central African Republic’s economic prospects “remain uncertain,” according to the report.
In Equatorial Guinea, growth is negative due to lower oil production and expected to shrink further.
North Africa’s economic growth continues to be heavily hit by the aftermath of the political upheavals in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
The region with strong trade ties to Europe has also been adversely affected by that continent’s weak recovery in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis.
In the region, only Algeria’s growth is projected to recover in them id-term, driven by oil production.
In Southern Africa, the economies of Angola, Mozambique and Zambiaare expected to grow by up to a whopping 9 per cent in 2015, boosted by infrastructure and mining investments, while South Africa’s grow this projected to remain flat at 3 per cent in 2015.
Overall, Africa’s economic growth led to improved human development.
Poverty is gradually decreasing, while education and health care are advancing.
Unequal access to social and economic opportunities, however,continued to undermine efforts to improve livelihoods and interferes with human rights, according to the report.-SPA