Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to reach 5 percent on average over the next three years, outpacing global growth, as a result of high commodity prices and strong consumer spending on the continent, said the World Bank on Monday.
In its latest edition of Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects, the bank saw increased investment, high commodity prices and a pick-up in the global economy driving this expected growth surge in the world’s poorest continent.
“The report finds that Africa has been growing at a sustained, robust pace in 2012 and the region grew by 4.7 percent, which is double the rate of growth of the global economy. And this growth is impressive because it is in spite of the tepid and weak recovery that the global economy was experiencing in 2012,” said Punam Chuhan-Pole, co-author of the report.
The Washington-based multilateral lender predicted Sub-Saharan Africa's growth would be 4.9, 5.1 and 5.2 percent for 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.
In contrast, global GDP was projected to expand by 2.4 percent in 2013 and gradually strengthen to 3 and 3.3 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Last week, Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill said Africa was “one part of the world that has got a very high growth rate that is accelerating” and predicted a 6 percent growth rate in the region for this decade.
But to harness the boom, African leaders must improve technology, education and the rule of law, including reducing corruption, said the BRIC’s founder. "If all of those things happen, this is going to be Africa's decade," he told an African Venture Capital Association conference.
In the same report, the World Bank cautioned that poverty reduction in Africa was being held back by income inequality and a dependence on mining and mineral exports in many countries.
Resource-rich countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Gabon were singled out as making less progress in combating poverty than other African countries with fewer natural resources.
"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.