Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The World Bank said Monday that the Sub-Saharan Africa economic growth and recovery may take longer period, cutting its initial 3.3 per cent growth forecast for sub-region this year to 2.8 per cent.
It traced the development to the commodity price slump of 2015, which cut short a decade of rapid growth for the region.
The bank noted that growth would take longer to recover as trade dispute between China and the United States take their toll, and a decline in industrial production.
With the bank’s 2019 forecast, it suggests that economic growth will lag behind population growth for the fourth year in a row and it will remain stuck below 3 per cent, which it slipped to in 2015.
Also the bank, in its latest report on the regional economy, cut its 2018 growth estimate to 2.3 per cent from last October’s prediction of 2.7 per cent growth for last year.
It said “The slower-than-expected overall growth reflects ongoing global uncertainty, but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits.”
Experts say Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, which make up about 60 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual economic output, were all facing various challenges, curbing their contribution to the growth momentum, the bank said.
The World Bank noted that “this downward revision reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence”.
It said Nigeria’s economy grew by an estimated 1.9 per cent last year, up from 0.8 per cent the previous year, reflecting a modest pick-up in the non-oil sector.
South Africa came out of recession in the third quarter of last year but investors were still cautious due to policy uncertainty, the bank said.
Meanwhile Angola, the region’s third-biggest economy, remained stuck in recession, as oil production remained weak.
The World Bank said high inflation and heavy debt loads discouraged investors in economies like Zambia and Liberia, thereby hampering their growth prospects.
The bank said in the report that economies that do not depend on commodities like Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Benin and Ivory Coast, continued to grow strongly.