Africa’s economic growth in 2016 was driven by East Africa

Countries like Ethiopia are leading the charge.
Countries like Ethiopia are leading the charge.
Image: Mulugeta Ayene/AP Images for C40)
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Africa is still rising—mainly thanks to East Africa.

While the continent’s major economies were hit by the fall in commodity prices in 2016, Africa retained its position as the second-fastest growing continent globally recording an average of 2.2% GDP growth, behind only South Asia, according to the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Much of Africa’s growth in 2016, AfDB says, was driven by East Africa where several countries recorded “strong performances.” Overall, of the continent’s sub-regions, East Africa posted the highest growth rate with 5.3%, led by Ethiopia.

Elsewhere, despite “political uncertainties”, North Africa recorded the second best average growth rate, with Egypt and Algeria being the brightest spots. Southern Africa, bogged down by the struggles of South Africa and Angola, saw its average growth rate estimated at just above 1% while Central Africa’s average growth rate slipped below the 1% mark.

The worst average growth rate on the continent was seen in West Africa where strong performances by Ivory Coast and Senegal were negated by Nigeria’s struggles. Currently mired in a recession, Nigeria suffered a full year of negative growth in 2016.

Despite their struggles, between them, Nigeria and South Africa still account for nearly half of the continent’s GDP, with 29% and 19% respectively according to AfDB. In general, AfDB remains bullish on growth across the continent estimating that economies will see 3.4% growth in 2017 and 4.3% in 2018. This growth, AfDB says, will be largely driven by “growing domestic demand and good performing countries.”