News / Africa

IMF says Last Decade Best Ever for Sub-Saharan Africa

Roger Nord, senior adviser to the IMF's African department, attends a Reuters interview in Kenya's capital Nairobi, FILE October 25, 2010.Roger Nord, senior adviser to the IMF's African department, attends a Reuters interview in Kenya's capital Nairobi, FILE October 25, 2010.
x
Roger Nord, senior adviser to the IMF's African department, attends a Reuters interview in Kenya's capital Nairobi, FILE October 25, 2010.
Roger Nord, senior adviser to the IMF's African department, attends a Reuters interview in Kenya's capital Nairobi, FILE October 25, 2010.

Related Articles

ABIDJAN - The International Monetary Fund says that economically speaking, the past 10 to 15 years have been the best ever for sub-Saharan Africa - which has been largely insulated from the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.  Some countries are experiencing faster economic growth than many robust economies in Asia did 20 years ago. But the new wealth is not always being shared with the poor.  

Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed a long period of strong economic growth. The IMF says it has been spurred by mineral wealth and the growth of the telecommunications, tourism and construction industries.

Roger Nord, deputy director of the Africa department of the IMF, says when the world was hit by the global financial crisis in 2008, Africa was resilient. “We saw that 2008-2009 growth went down slightly but by no means as much as it did in the rest of the world, which was going through a sharp recession," he recalled. "And we’ve seen a rapid rebound.  We now have 5 percent growth in 2011.  2012, our projection is 5.5.  And about the same level in 2013.”

African economies have long been vulnerable to fluctuations in European and American markets.  Nord said this is changing.

Trade has trended away from traditional partners like the United States and Europe, toward emerging markets like China, India and Brazil.  The IMF says this trade with new markets has helped insulate Africa from the economic downturn in Europe and the U.S, as have sound economic policies.

Nord notes the growth Africa is experiencing compares to the growth much of Asia began experiencing 20 or 30 years ago.  He says Rwanda and Mozambique have even had faster “take-offs” than India, Vietnam, Korea or Thailand did.

Yet not all countries on the continent are thriving.  Countries in conflict, such as the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau, have had little growth.

And while the poor have benefited overall, some countries are doing better than others at sharing the wealth coming from minerals and oil.

For the poor to benefit, Nord says policies have to focus on the sector where the largest proportion of the poor work in sub-Saharan Africa: agriculture. “So you have to make sure that you don’t have only growth in your natural resources, in oil and minerals.  You also have to make sure that the rural population benefits," he stated. "And that way you can get a good distribution of growth.”

But Nord says for Africa to emerge out of poverty, this growth has to be maintained for decades. “It has to last if Africa wants to come out of poverty.  We’re optimistic that it's possible," he said. "We’ve seen countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, to name just a few, that have been maintaining these growth rates now for 15, sometimes 20 years.  And that’s going to be needed.  So the challenge, the challenge for Africa and for the world, is to make sure that they can can maintain this.”

Nord notes that requires not only good economic policies but also stable political and social conditions, and the absence of conflict.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs