African economies to grow faster than world average

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Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are likely to experience significantly faster economic growth than their counterparts around the world, according to the World Bank.

The World Bank building in Washington, DC (Picture: Shiny Things/Flckr)

The international financial institution says that increased investment and a higher price for commodities produced in Africa will likely contribute to an overall growth figure of 5% over the next three years. By comparison, global GDP is predicted to grow by 2.4% this year on average.

World Bank economist Punam Chuhan-Pole said: “If properly harnessed to unleash their full potential, these trends hold the promise of more growth, much less poverty, and accelerating shared prosperity for African countries in the foreseeable future.”

Foreign investment into Africa is expected to reach a record figure of US$54bn annually by 2015, says the Bank, providing an economic boost which will help to reduce poverty.

The Bank says that, while their data shows that the proportion of Africans living in poverty fell to 48.5% between 1996 and 2010 (down from 58%), not every country is performing as well as it should be.

“While the broad picture emerging from the data is that Africa’s economies have been expanding robustly and that poverty is coming down, the aggregate hides a great deal of diversity in performance, even among Africa’s faster growers,” said Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, pointing at resource-rich countries including Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Gabon as those who could – and should – be progressing faster.

The Bank identified the mineral resources of Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone as highly attractive to investors and highlighted the need for continued infrastructure development to support rapid economic growth.

“African countries will need to bring more electricity, nutritious food, jobs and opportunity to families and communities across the continent in order to better their lives, end extreme poverty, and promote shared prosperity,” said the World Bank’s Africa Vice President Makhtar Diop. “Without more electricity and higher agricultural productivity, Africa’s development future cannot prosper. The good news is that governments in Africa are intent on changing this.”

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