Growth in sub-Saharan Africa remained slow until 2019, hampered by persistent uncertainty in the global economy and the slow pace of domestic reforms. The information is in the 20th edition of Africa’s Pulse report, the World Bank’s half-yearly economic update for the region. The report predicts an overall growth in sub-Saharan Africa will rise to 2.6% in 2019 from 2.5% in 2018, which is 0.2 percentage points below April’s forecast.
Real GDP growth is also expected to slow significantly in other emerging and developing regions, according to the World Bank document. The regions of the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Asia are expected to have even larger downward revisions in their growth forecasts than in sub-Saharan Africa for 2019.
In addition to sub-Saharan Africa regional averages, the picture is generally mixed. The recovery in Nigeria, South Africa and Angola – the region’s three largest economies – has remained weak and is weighing on the region’s prospects. In Nigeria, growth in the non-oil sector has been slow, while in Angola the oil sector has remained weak. In South Africa, low investment sentiment is weighing on economic activity.
Excluding Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, growth in the remainder of the subcontinent is expected to remain robust, although slower in some countries. Average growth among resource-poor countries is expected to reflect the effects of tropical cyclones in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, political uncertainty in Sudan, weaker agricultural exports in Kenya and fiscal consolidation in Senegal.
In Central African Economic and Monetary Community countries, which are also resource-intensive, activity is expected to expand at a modest pace, supported by increased oil production. Growth among metal exporters is expected to be subdued as mining production slows and metal prices fall.
“Africa’s economies are not immune to what is happening in the rest of the world, and this is reflected in low growth rates across the region,” said Albert Zeufack, chief economist at the World Bank for Africa. “At the same time, the evidence clearly links poor governance to poor growth performance, so that efficient and transparent institutions must be on the priority list for African policymakers and citizens.”
Empowering Women to Reduce Poverty
Four out of 10 Africans, or more than 416 million people, lived below $ 1.90 a day in 2015. In the absence of significant efforts to create economic opportunities and reduce the risk to poor people, extreme poverty will become almost exclusively an African phenomenon by 2030. According to Pulse’s Africa, Africa’s poverty agenda must control the poor, helping to accelerate the fertility transition, leverage the food system on and off the field, deal with risk and conflict. and provide more and better public funding to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. A critical part will be addressing gender gaps in health, education, empowerment and employment.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world that can boast that women are more likely to be entrepreneurs than men, and African women contribute a large share of agricultural work across the continent. In contrast, women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa produce 33% less per hectare of land than men, and women entrepreneurs or business owners make 34% less profits than men.
These disparities in earnings are very expensive for African peoples and economies. For this reason, the report identifies political avenues for women’s economic empowerment, promoting their empowerment, seeking innovative solutions to their challenges, and helping them gain access to better guarantees in the financial sector and jobs. In addition, it seeks to educate their communities about gender equity and ensure opportunities for new generations.
“Empowering women will help drive growth. African policymakers face an important choice: business as usual or deliberate steps towards a more inclusive economy,” says Hafez Ghanem, World Bank vice president for Africa. “After several years of slower than expected growth, closing the gap for women by removing barriers to their economic participation is the best way forward.”
+ The report is available for download in Portuguese, English and French from the websit http://bit.ly/35f7Dtn