Sub-Saharan Africa set for “robust” economic growth, says IMF

By on 30/04/2014

The IMF’s latest ‘Regional Economic Outlook’ report on Sub-Saharan Africa projects strong growth for the area over the coming year.

According to the Fund’s forecasts, the economy of the region as a whole will grow from 4.9 per cent last year to 5.5 per cent in 2014, and may even reach 6.9 per cent in some low-income countries.

The region’s economic vibrancy is being driven by investment in infrastructure and mining, but masks severe income inequality in many countries. This issue was highlighted in a recent report by Christian Aid, covered elsewhere on GGF.

A further note of realism was sounded by Antoinette Sayeh, director of the IMF’s African Department, who said: “Some of the favourable factors that have supported growth in the region have started to weaken. In particular, the shift in the composition of global demand – and of growth in some large emerging markets – is causing commodity prices to weaken. Tighter global financial conditions have also raised the cost of financing for many countries. Should these trends continue, they would likely act as a drag on growth in many countries in the region.”

To compensate for this, the IMF has recommended that nations in Sub-Saharan Africa focus on pursuing macroeconomic stability. This reflects its view that “there is no room for complacency” and that governments should be working to alleviate fiscal deficits where possible.

Moreover, added Sayeh, countries such as the Central African Republic and South Sudan should focus on restoring peace to their societies, since at the moment “conflict is exacting a tremendous toll.”

In a further critical insight, Sayeh highlighted those nations where economic growth has not automatically yielded a reduction in poverty levels.

For example, she contrasted Mozambique with Vietnam, saying that the fruits of economic success have been shared more evenly among the population in the former nation than in the latter. To address this, she asserted that more focus needs to be given to job creation and financial inclusion in African countries that are experiencing high rates of growth.

About Kevin Sorkin

Pendragon International Media publish www.globalgovernmentforum.com, a community of senior government officials around the world. Global Government Forum is an important international network focusing on impartial, government news, analysis and best practice. The content addresses the real issues facing senior leaders in public service policy and administration today and aims to support them in developing public services for the future. Our aim is to help all organisations engage with this important community by improving understanding and strengthening relationships. I am the founder of the Civil Service Awards and Civil Service Live, which are now established industry leading brands and extremely important events for government. I also launched and published Civil Service World, civilserviceworld.com and Civil Service World Research and Information bringing together the civil service community to enable communication, sharing of best practice, inspire and motivate the civil service community. Over the years I have established relationships with the most senior officials in government and the private sector and have built a very strong and positive reputation across the industry.

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