Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa remains strong and is poised for lift-off after growing at 4.9 percent in 2011, just shy of the pre-crisis average of 5 percent. Excluding South Africa, which accounts for over a third of the region’s GDP, growth in the rest of region was 5.9 percent, making it one of the fastest growing developing regions, according to a new World Bank report on Africa’s economy.
Over a third of countries in the region attained growth rates of at least 6 percent, with another 40 percent growing between 4 – 6 percent. Among fast- growing economies in 2011 were resource-rich countries such as Ghana, Mozambique, and Nigeria, as well as other economies such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, all posting growth rates of at least 7 percent in 2011.
“In view of the turbulence that has beset the global economy in the last five years, many would be right to think that the prospects for Africa are terrible. But as this issue of Africa’s Pulse shows, African economies continue to show resilience and some of the fastest-growing economies in the world are now in Africa. The urgent agenda remains sustaining the macroeconomic reforms while accelerating the structural reforms that will deliver the right quality of growth that creates jobs and raises incomes on the continent,” says Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, and a former Nigerian Minister of Mineral Resources.
However, the new report, Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects also says that the Euro zone debt crisis and tighter domestic policies in some large developing countries pushed African exports lower in late 2011. Metal and mineral exporters (e.g. Zambia, Niger, and Mozambique) and cotton exporters (e.g. Benin and Burkina Faso) were among the hardest hit in the three months ending in November 2011. Given the recent strengthening of other commodity prices in 2012, export values for both agriculture and metal and mineral exporters may already have started expanding.