World Bank cuts 2017 growth outlook for sub-Sahara Africa

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The World Bank cut its growth outlook for sub-Saharan Africa on Wednesday, warning that the pace of recovery in the continent’s largest economies has been slowed by insufficient policy responses to the commodity price crash that sparked fiscal crises.

After clocking the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be 2.6 per cent this year and should rise to 3.2 per cent in 2018, the bank said in its biannual Africa Pulse report. The 2017 projection compares to the 2.9 per cent growth the group had previously forecast in its last report.

Though the region is showing signs of recovery, growth this year will rise only slightly above population growth, “a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty”, the report said.

Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, have begun to rebound from the worst of the slowdown, according to the World Bank, but reforms are needed in those countries and across the continent to foster private sector growth.

Albert Zeufack, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa said: “As countries move towards fiscal adjustment, we need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery.”

Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania were highlighted for continuing to show economic resilience. “GDP growth in countries whose economies depend less on extractive commodities should remain robust, underpinned by infrastructure investments, resilient services sectors, and the recovery of agricultural production,” it said.

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