News / Economy

IMF Predicts 6 Percent Economic Growth in Africa

Shoppers leave a Woolworths store at a shopping centre in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, Aug. 28, 2013.
Shoppers leave a Woolworths store at a shopping centre in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, Aug. 28, 2013.
Anne Look
The International Monetary Fund says economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will pick up to an average of 6 percent in 2014 after a moderate slowdown this year.

In its latest outlook report released for the region in Dakar, the IMF says economic growth in will continue to be "rigorous," reaching as much as 7 percent next year in some of the continent's poorest, mineral-producing countries and averaging 6 percent across the continent.

"Africa rising" has made for an exciting narrative in the past few years, but the surge in growth has yet to improve the daily lives of many Africans.

The Fund's deputy director for Africa, Roger Nord, says poverty is going down but not fast enough.

"If you are in East Africa today versus twenty years ago, the life of the average Rwandan, Tanzanian has changed quite a lot.  Has it changed enough?  No.  We have to remember that Mozambique has grown on average at 8 percent for twenty years.  That means per capita GDP went up from 150 to 500. That's still quite poor on average," he said.

Governments, he said, need to address this head-on with measures like targeted subsidies for poor families.

One common assumption is that high global commodity prices have driven Africa's impressive economic growth over the past two decades.

The IMF says that while that has been true for some countries, resources have not been the only ticket to fast growth.

"The countries that have grown the fastest are countries like Tanzania, like Uganda, like Rwanda, Mozambique but also Burkina [Faso] that are quite diversified.  They are not the oil exporters or the big mineral exporters that one thinks of, and the answer is because this growth has not come just from exports.  It has come from good economic policies that have created a stable macroeconomic situation and have allowed both consumption and investment to rise. That's the kind of growth that is sustained for a long period of time," said Nord.

The IMF says risks for regional growth in 2014 are minimal and are primarily external, like lower global commodity prices or further weakening in emerging markets.

"Twenty years ago, 80 percent of its [sub-Saharan Africa's] trade was with its traditional partners in Europe and the United States," said Nord. "Today, it's less than 50 and the other 50 is with emerging markets in China, in Brazil, in India, but also more trade among each other. It's still low, too low maybe, but it has doubled over the last twenty years. That has given more stability so that diversification is good."

But it also brings risk, he said, and as more African countries begin to seek capital on the international market, Nord cautioned that the debt they take on should be used for investment, like infrastructure, that will fuel more growth.

You May Like

US Companies Pledge Action on Climate Change

Goals include reducing emissions by as much as 50 percent, reducing water usage by 80 percent, and buying 100 percent renewable energy

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.