Economic growth for Sub-Saharan Africa looks set to pick up to a modest 2.4% for 2017, just slightly lower than the forecast of 2.6% earlier this year, but a big improvement on 1.3% in 2016.
Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is recovering moderately, following a sharp slowdown over the course of the last two years. Estimated to have strengthened from 1.3% in 2016 to 2.4% in 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the region is mainly led by the continent's largest economies: Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola. Nigeria and South Africa have exited recession; however, their pace of recovery remains sluggish.
Elsewhere, an uptick in mining output along with a recovery in the agricultural sector boosted economic activity for metal exporters. And GDP growth was stable in non-resource intensive countries, supported by domestic demand.
Improving global conditions, including high commodity prices, curtailed current account deficits. Capital inflows rose in 2017, helping to finance current account deficits and cushion foreign reserves. Sovereign bond issuance rebounded in 2017, with Nigeria, Senegal, and Côte d'Ivoire selling bonds on the international capital markets, indicating improving global sentiment towards emerging and frontier markets like them.
Headline inflation slowed across the region in 2017 amid stable exchange rates, and amid slowing food price inflation due to higher food production. Fiscal deficits slightly narrowed, but continued to be high, as fiscal adjustment measures remained partial at best.
Across the region, additional efforts are needed to address revenue shortfalls and spending.
Looking ahead, Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to see a steady pickup in activity, with growth rising to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019 as commodity prices stabilize and domestic demand gradually gains ground, helped by slowing inflation and monetary policy easing.
The World Bank Group strategy for Africa is built on looking for opportunities for growth and poverty reduction, mainly to support structural transformation, economic diversification, and inclusion within the new development finance framework.
The Africa region is made up of a combination of low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high income countries. Of these, 18 countries are fragile and conflict-affected states, such as the Central African Republic. Africa also has 13 small (nation) states, characterized by a small population, limited human capital, and a confined land area, such as Guinea Bissau.
The Bank is responding to this diversity by providing a wide range of instruments, both traditional and innovative, tailored to the needs of the countries.
The strategy focuses on the following priority areas:
Agricultural productivity: There is a continuing need to accelerate progress in boosting agricultural productivity and output in Africa. Supporting smallholders through investment in improved technologies, rural financial services, and better access to markets is vital. Equally important is the push to boost agribusiness investments and improve land and water management by adopting modern irrigation practices, preventing conflicts over water resources and implementing climate-smart agriculture solutions.
Affordable and reliable energy: Increasing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank's work in Africa, as inadequate electricity supply remains the greatest infrastructure obstacle in Africa.
Climate Change: Africa's poor are likely to be hit hardest by climate change, particularly changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Investing in climate change adaptation techniques and disaster risk management will remain top priority. To build climate resilience, countries will need help to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensure food security. The Africa Climate Business Plan, presented at COP21, lays out a work program to help on both fronts ...Read more
As of September 2017, the Bank has had an active portfolio of over 600 projects in Africa totaling $65 billion. Key focus areas included raising agricultural productivity, increasing access to affordable and reliable energy, building resilience to climate change, strengthening fragile and conflict-afflicted states, and promoting high quality education. The Bank also made important contributions to knowledge this fiscal year.
A few highlights of our development results: Read more
The World Bank Group leverages partnerships, knowledge, and financing instruments to further its twin goals of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity.
Improved access to sustainable energy, including in rural areas, is a key aim of partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), Arab Coordination Group, Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), and the China National Energy Administration Energy. Collaboration with the AfDB, ISDB, AFD, AUC and JICA is supporting the efforts of African countries to increased agricultural productivity and expand agribusiness.
Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), JICA, Global Fund, AfDB, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union Commission (AUC), the World Bank is supporting Universal Health Coverage in Africa. Collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Union (EU), and the AUC underpins World Bank programs implementing a development approach to forced displacement the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa. The World Bank is a collaborating agency, along with the AfDB and UNDP, in the Alliance for the Sahel, an initiative launched by France, Germany and the EU. Read more
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2017