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African economic growth to accelerate to 4% over next two years

Africa’s economic growth is forecast to rise to about 4% this year and next from 3.4% in 2019, driven by infrastructure investments and natural resource exports, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Thursday. 

Africa’s economic growth is forecast to rise to about 4% this year and next from 3.4% in 2019, driven by infrastructure investments and natural resource exports, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Thursday.

Growth last year was below the average 5% rate of the past decade, the AfDB said in an annual report, due to slower growth in the continent’s “big five” economies — Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

The expected acceleration in growth to 3.9% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021 will be marked by a shift away from private consumption toward investment and net exports, the report said.

Last year was the first time in a decade that investment spending accounted for a larger share of GDP growth than consumption, the AfDB said.

East Africa was the fastest-growing region in 2019 at 5%, and six African countries were among the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania and Benin.

Southern Africa posted the slowest growth in 2019 at just 0.7%, held back by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth and a nearly 13% contraction in Zimbabwe.

The report said that higher oil prices were a significant contributor to growth last year. However, it added that only a third of countries have achieved inclusive growth and that, based on current trends, Africa is not on track to meet an international goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

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