Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa projected at 3.4 percent in 2018
Sub-Sharan Africa is experiencing a modest growth uptick, and about two-thirds of countries in the region reportedly saw accelerated growth over the past year.
This was disclosed during a presentation on the 2018 edition of IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook in Addis Ababa.
In his presentation, Papa N’diaye, Chief of IMF’s Regional Studies Division stated that “growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in 2018, from 2.8 percent in 2017 in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Mr. N’diaye said the overall growth in the region could be linked to improved global growth, higher commodity prices, and continued strong public spending.
He highlighted that “Beyond 2018, growth is expected to plateau below 4 percent, modestly above population growth, reflecting continued sluggishness in the oil-exporting countries and sustained growth in non-resource-intensive countries.”
The report notes that the region is home to a very diverse set of countries, resulting in uneven growth performance. There is, therefore, a “need for policies to respond to the deep macroeconomic imbalances in the region.”
The need to foster private investment and increase domestic revenue mobilization were amongst the recommendations highlighted during the presentation. These will improve and sustain growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, said Mr. N’diaye, stating “weak private investment has weighed on growth.”
The IMF official emphasized that “Attaining the SDGs world require reducing macroeconomic vulnerabilities and raising medium-term growth.
The session was chaired by Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Mr. Elhiraika agreed with Mr. N’diaye on the requirements for attaining the SDGs, stating “Africa needs to grow at more than twice the average rate achieved over the past 15 years in order to achieve the SDGs and Agenda 2063.”
He described the IMF report as timely, noting that ECA recently organized its annual Conference of Ministers (CoM2018) with “discussions around the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and how to mobilize revenue, especially domestic resources to finance basic investments needed to implement the continental free trade area and achieve the SDGs.”
“Mobilizing domestic revenue and private investment is critical for Africa, given the infrastructure gaps and rising cost of external borrowing, which may undermine macroeconomic stability in African countries,” Mr. Elhiraika added.
Mr. N’diaye was accompanied by two other IMF officials - Boaz Nandwa and David Robinson.
In his remarks, Mr. Robinson stated, “We came here to present this report because we know these are issues that are high on your mind. We really do want to get your perspectives and a better understanding of where you’re coming from and some of the challenges and opportunities.”
The IMF 2018 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa focuses on “ Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment.”