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Africa’s economy could be as slow as the rest of the world’s for the first time in 16 years

Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
Not a whole lot going on.
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Africa’s rise has stalled. Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed to an estimated 3.0% last year, down from 4.5% the year before and the slowest rate of expansion since the global financial crisis, according to World Bank forecasts released on Monday (April 12th). Economists blame falling commodity prices, a slowdown in China, and continued weakness in the global economy.

It’s a far cry from when the continent averaged 6.8% growth between 2003 and 2008.

And African economic growth could fall behind the rest of the world this year for the first time in 16 years (paywall). The World Bank predicts average growth in Africa of 3.3% this year, down from an earlier estimate of 4.4% and hardly better than the World Bank’s global estimate of 2.9%. The consultancy Capital Economics predicts even slower expansion for Africa at 2.9%.

More worrying is the fact that the continent’s massive population growth may negate what little economic expansion Africa sees. Already GDP per capita growth, at 0.5%, is at its slowest since 2009.

Still, there are some bright spots. Oil importing countries like Kenya stand to benefit from falling prices. Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania all showed solid growth last year, according to the World Bank. According to Capital Economics, these countries should expand in 2016 too.

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