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Carpentry shop in Monrovia, Liberia. Strong activity in Africa’s low-income countries offsets slowdown in middle-income countries (IMF photo)

The IMF and Civil Society

Sub-Saharan Africa Builds Momentum in Multi-Speed World

May 10, 2013

With a gradually improving outlook for the global economy, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to strengthen, according to the IMF’s latest forecast for the region.

The near-term outlook for the region is broadly positive because most factors lending support to economic activity in the last few years remain in place—namely strong investment, favorable commodity prices, and generally prudent macroeconomic management.

The IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa projects regional economic growth of 5 ½ percent in 2013–2014, compared with 5 percent in 2012. Investment is expected to remain a key driver of growth, while measured activity in 2013 will also be boosted by one-off factors in some countries, including rebound effects from floods in Nigeria and recovery of agriculture in regions previously affected by drought.

Upper middle-income countries are expected to continue grappling with sluggish growth, while activity should gradually normalize in some fragile economies that were negatively affected by political instability.

The region’s downtrend in inflation is set to extend into 2013–14. This forecast is premised on moderating nonoil commodity prices, productive local crops, and inflation-focused monetary policy. Gains made in combating inflation in eastern Africa are expected to be consolidated, while the pace of price rises is projected to slow in countries that experienced inflation flare-ups

Read the full IMF Survey story.