TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WORLD BANK OCTOBER ‘AFRICA PULSE REPORT’

By Iweka Kingsley

The World Bank’s Africa Pulse Report is an analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future. These highlights below identify 10 key points about Africa’s economic rise from the October volume of the report.

 

  • Public infrastructure investment, a rebound in agriculture, and a buoyant services sector are key drivers of growth in the region.
  • Prospects for the region remain favourable despite headwinds.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, growth in agriculture and services has been more effective at reducing poverty than growth in industry.
  • Structural transformation has a role to play in accelerating poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa.
    Increasing agricultural productivity will be critical to fostering structural transformation. Boosting rural income diversification can facilitate this transformation, as well. Investments in rural public goods and services (for example, education, health, rural roads, electricity and ICT), including in small towns will be conducive to lifting productivity in the rural economy.
  • Although sub-Saharan Africa’s pattern of growth has largely bypassed manufacturing, growing the region’s manufacturing base, especially by improving its fundamentals – lower transport cost, cheaper and more reliable power, and a more educated labour force – will benefit all sectors.
  • Following weaker-than-expected growth in the first half of 2014, a modest pickup in global growth is expected in the second half of the year, lifting growth to around 2.6% in 2014, to 3.2% in 2015, and to an average yearly rate of 3.3% during 2016 – 2017.
  • Despite headwinds, medium-term growth prospects for sub-Saharan Africa remain favourable. Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is projected to strengthen to an annual rate of 5.2% during 2015 – 2016 from 4.6% in 2014, and to rise to 5.3% in 2017.
  • Economic activity strengthened in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy. GDP advanced 6.5% year-on-year in the second quarter, up from a 6.2% expansion in the first quarter. Growth also remained robust in many of the region’s low-income countries including, notably, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
  • In Cote d’Ivoire, a strong increase in cocoa production and rice output boosted agriculture growth, and Ethiopia’s robust growth continued to be supported by the agriculture sector and public investment, particularly in infrastructure.
  • Services sector expansion, led by transport, telecommunications, financial services, and tourism, is spearheading overall economic growth in countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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