ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Projecting Africa’s aggregate growth and domestic
product (GDP) to grow at 3.5 percent in 2018, and 3.7 percent in
2019, a new UN report reiterates that East Africa remains
fastest-growing sub-region on the continent.
The World Economic
Situation and Prospects (WESP) report launched on Tuesday at the
UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, states that Africa is expected to see stronger growth
in 2018 and 2019.
It calls for renewed
efforts to decrease over-reliance on commodity revenues through
economic diversification and structural transformation.
With GDP growth of
5.3 percent in 2017, the East African sub-region is expected to
grow by about 6 percent in 2018 and 2019, says the report.
Briefing the press
on the report, Khaled Hussein, Chief of Forecasting Section
Macroeconomic Policy Division of the UNECA, said the growth in
the sub-region is facilitated by large infrastructure
investments and the expansion of domestic markets.
North Africa is
projected to stabilize at 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019, after
reaching 4.8 percent in 2017, as a result of firmer commodity
prices, further improvement in the security situation and
continuing economic recovery in Europe.
West Africa will
continue its growth recovery, from 2.4 percent in 2017 to 3.3
percent in 2018, as oil prices rise and oil production gradually
increases in Nigeria, easing fiscal and foreign exchange
Several other west
African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal,
are expected to continue a path of strong growth supported by
robust spending on infrastructure, higher investor confidence
and improvements in the business climate.
The report projects
growth in South Africa to improve but remain modest.
Following the growth
of 1.2 percent in 2017, GDP in the Southern African sub-region
is projected to expand by 2.3 percent in 2018 and 2.5 percent in
In South Africa, net
exports will rebound with the moderate recovery in the
agriculture and mining sectors. Growth will, however, remain
relatively subdued amid heightened political uncertainty.
Buoyed by higher oil
prices, growth in Central Africa is estimated to rebound from
0.7 percent in 2017 to 2.1 percent in 2018. Insecurity and
relatively low commodity prices weigh on prospects for the area.
The report notes
that several central banks in Africa decreased policy rates in
2017 amid moderately easing inflationary pressures.
As the impacts of
large currency depreciations subside, inflation is projected to
decrease in 2018-2019. However, inflation in many African
countries remains high relative to the rest of the world.
Investments in human
capital as well as efforts to strengthen governance and
institutions are needed. Importantly, acute malnutrition in
conflict-affected areas must be urgently addressed, emphasizes
East African body
says food, drugs hard-hit by non-tariff barriers
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The apex body of business associations in the
East African Community (EAC) on Wednesday said food, drugs and
cosmetics are the most affected by non-tariff barriers in intra-EAC
Business Council (EABC) Executive Director Lilian Awinja told
Xinhua in Nairobi that trade barriers of most other products
have been resolved and these goods are freely flowing across the
EAC member states.
“The main reason why
food, drugs and cosmetics face trade barriers at the EAC border
points is due to lack of harmonized standards across the three
sectors,” Awinja said during a media briefing.
membership from private sector organizations in Kenya, Uganda,
Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The regional body
has already established an East African Private Sector Standards
Platform that addresses trade barriers faced by suppliers in
intra-regional trade that are caused by differences in technical
regulations among EAC member states.
Awinja noted that
while Kenya and Tanzania have foods standards bodies, Uganda is
yet to fully operationalize its organization.
“This has resulted
in different laws on food safety that have hampered intra-EAC
trade,” she said.
The East African
Legislative Assembly has already endorsed the EAC
Standardization, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SACA)
Bill that seeks to harmonize foods, drugs and cosmetics
standards across the region.
The heads of states
of the EAC partner countries are set to sign the bill so that it
becomes law later this year.
growth to rise to 3.2 pct in 2018: report
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is
projected to rise to 3.2 percent in 2018 and to 3.5 percent in
2019, on the back of firming commodity prices and gradually
strengthening domestic demand, according to the World Bank.
According to the
latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report released by the
bank, growth in the region is estimated to have rebounded to 2.4
percent in 2017, after slowing sharply to 1.3 percent in 2016.
The rise reflects a
modest recovery in Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, the
region’s largest economies, supported by an improvement in
commodity prices, favorable global financing conditions, and
slowing inflation that helped to lift household demand, the
However, growth was
slightly weaker than expected, as the region is still
experiencing negative per capita income growth, weak investment,
and a decline in productivity growth, said the report.
producers in the region continue to deal with the effects of the
earlier oil price collapse, growth rebounded moderately in
metals-exporting countries, reflecting an uptick in mining
output amid rising metals prices, while growth in
non-resource-intensive countries, largely agricultural
exporters, was broadly stable, supported by infrastructure
investment and crop production, according to the report.
Although the growth
is forecast to rise in the years 2018 and 2019, it will remain
below pre-crisis averages, partly reflecting a struggle in
larger economies to boost private investment.
South Africa is
forecast to tick up to 1.1 percent growth in 2018 from 0.8
percent in 2017, and the recovery is expected to solidify, as
improving business sentiment supports a modest rise in
uncertainty is likely to remain and could slow needed structural
reforms, warns the GEP.
anticipated to accelerate to a 2.5 percent rate this year from 1
percent growth in the year just ended. An upward revision to
Nigeria’s forecast is based on expectation that oil production
will continue to recover and that reforms will lift non-oil
And growth in Angola
is expected to increase to 1.6 percent in 2018, as a successful
political transition improves the possibility of reforms that
ameliorate the business environment.
intensive countries are expected to expand at a solid pace,
helped by robust investment growth. Cote d’Ivoire is forecast to
expand by 7.2 percent in 2018; Senegal by 6.9 percent; Ethiopia
by 8.2 percent; Tanzania by 6.8 percent; and Kenya by 5.5
percent as inflation eases, according to the report forecast.
demographic and investment trends across the region over the
longer term, structural reforms would be needed to boost
potential growth over the next decade, according to the report.
It further warned
that excessive external borrowing without forward-looking budget
management could worsen debt dynamics and hurt growth in many
countries. Protracted political and policy uncertainty could
further hurt confidence and deter investment in some countries.
It said that rising
government debt levels highlight the importance of fiscal
adjustment to contain fiscal deficits and maintain financial
stability. Structural policies, including education, health,
labor market, governance, and business climate reforms, could
help bolster potential growth.