Sub-Saharan Africa

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2020

October 22, 2020

Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa

Description: Sub-Saharan Africa is contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis— one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions. The current outlook for 2020–21 is broadly unchanged from the June update, with activity in 2020 projected to contract by 3.0 percent, still the worst outcome on record. For 2021, regional growth should recover modestly to 3.1 percent.

June 29, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: A Cautious Reopening

Description: The outlook for 2020 for sub-Saharan Africa is considerably worse than was anticipated in April and subject to much uncertainty. Economic activity this year is now projected to contract by some 3.2 percent, reflecting a weaker external environment and measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Growth is projected to recover to 3.4 percent in 2021 subject to the continued gradual easing of restrictions that has started in recent weeks and, importantly, if the region avoids the same epidemic dynamics that have played out elsewhere. Africa’s authorities have acted swiftly to support the economy, but these efforts have been constrained by falling revenues and limited fiscal space. Regional policies should remain focused on safeguarding public health, supporting people and businesses hardest hit by the crisis, and facilitating the recovery.The region cannot tackle these challenges alone, and a coordinated effort by all development partners will be key.

April 15, 2020

COVID-19: An Unprecedented Threat to Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Description: Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis that threatens to throw the region off its stride, reversing the development progress of recent years and slow the region’s growth prospects in the years to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread through almost all countries. And as in the rest of the world, the health crisis has precipitated an economic crisis reflecting three large shocks: disruption of production and a sharp reduction in demand; spillovers from a sharp deterioration in global growth and tighter financial conditions; and a severe decline in commodity prices. As a result, the region’s economy is projected to contract by 1.6 percent this year—the worst reading on record. The economic crisis will exacerbate social conditions and aggravate existing economic vulnerabilities, while containment measures and social distancing will inevitably jeopardize the livelihoods of countless people. Decisive measures and support from the international community are urgently needed to limit the humanitarian and economic losses and protect the most vulnerable societies.

2019

October 18, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Navigating Uncertainty

Description:

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to remain at 3.2 percent in 2019 and rise to 3.6 percent in 2020. The expected recovery, however, is at a slower pace than previously envisaged for about two-thirds of the countries in the region, partly due to a challenging external environment. Growth is projected to remain strong in non-resource-intensive countries, averaging about 6 percent. As a result, 24 countries, home to about 500 million people, will see their per capita income rise faster than the rest of the world. In contrast, growth is expected to move in slow gear in resource-intensive countries (2½ percent). Hence, 21 countries are projected to have per capita growth lower than the world average. Reducing risks and promoting sustained and inclusive growth across all countries in the region requires carefully calibrating the near-term policy mix, building resilience, and raising medium-term growth.

April 12, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Recovery Amid Elevated Uncertainty

Description:

Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook: Recovery Amid Elevated Uncertainty

The economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa continues. Regional growth is set to pick up from 3 percent in 2018 to 3.5 percent in 2019, before stabilizing at close to 4 percent over the medium term. These region‑wide numbers mask considerable differences in the growth performance and prospects of countries across the region. About half of the region’s countries— mostly non-resource-intensive countries—are expected to grow at 5 percent or more, which would see per capita incomes rise faster than the rest of the world on average over the medium term. For all other countries, mostly resource-intensive countries, improvements in living standards will be slower. Notwithstanding these different economic prospects and policy priorities, countries share the challenge of strengthening resilience and creating higher, more inclusive and durable growth. Addressing these challenges requires building fiscal space and enhancing resilience to shocks by stepping up actions to mobilize revenues, alongside policies to boost productivity and private investment.

2018

October 11, 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Capital Flows and The Future of Work

Description:

Capital Flows and The Future of Work

The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen. Growth is expected to increase from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 3.1 percent in 2018, reflecting domestic policy adjustments and a supportive external environment, including continued steady growth in the global economy, higher commodity prices, and accommodative external financing conditions. While fiscal imbalances are being contained in many countries, the adjustment has typically occurred through a combination of higher commodity revenues and sharp cuts in capital spending, with little progress on domestic revenue mobilization. Over the medium term, and on current policies, growth is expected to accelerate to about 4 percent, too low to absorb the likely flow of new entrants into labor markets. The outlook is surrounded by significant downside risks, particularly considering the elevated policy uncertainty in the global economy. Shielding the recovery and raising medium-term growth would require reducing debt vulnerabilities and creating fiscal space through more progress on domestic revenue mobilization, and policies to achieve strong sustainable and inclusive growth.

May 8, 2018

Regional Economic Outlook: Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment

Description:

Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment

Sub-Saharan Africa is set to enjoy a modest growth uptick, and decisive policies are needed to both reduce vulnerabilities and raise medium-term growth prospects. Average growth in the region is projected to rise from 2.8 percent in 2017 to 3.4 percent in 2018, with growth accelerating in about two-thirds of the countries in the region aided by stronger global growth, higher commodity prices, and improved capital market access. On current policies, average growth in the region is expected to plateau below 4 percent—barely 1 percent in per capita terms—over the medium term. Turning the current recovery into sustained strong growth consistent with the achievement of the SDGs would require policies to both reduce vulnerabilities and raise medium-term growth prospects. Prudent fiscal policy is needed to rein in public debt, while monetary policy must be geared toward ensuring low inflation. Countries should also strengthen revenue mobilization and continue to advance structural reforms to reduce market distortions, shaping an environment that fosters private investment.

2017

October 30, 2017

Regional Economic Outlook: Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Diversification

Description:

The broad-based slowdown in sub-Saharan Africa is easing but the underlying situation remains difficult. Growth is expected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017, but the pickup reflects one-off factors, notably a recovery in oil production in Nigeria and the easing of drought conditions in eastern and southern Africa. While a third of the countries in the region continue to grow at 5 percent or more, 12 countries home to 40 percent of the region’s population are expected to see per capita income decline. The external environment has improved somewhat, facilitating sovereign bond issuances by the region’s frontier economies. Foreign exchange market pressures appear to have abated, but international reserves remain low in many countries. Public debt has been rising rapidly across the region, including in the fast-growing economies. In this context, implementing the planned fiscal consolidations and reforms to tackle constraints on growth are the key policy priorities.

May 9, 2017

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa

Description: Growth momentum in sub-Saharan Africa remains fragile, marking a break from the rapid expansion witnessed since the turn of the millennium. 2016 was a difficult year for many countries, with regional growth dipping to 1.4 percent—the lowest level of growth in more than two decades. Most oil exporters were in recession, and conditions in other resource-intensive countries remained difficult. Other nonresource-intensive countries however, continued to grow robustly. A modest recovery in growth of about 2.6 percent is expected in 2017, but this falls short of past trends and is too low to put sub-Saharan Africa back on a path of rising living standards. While sub-Saharan Africa remains a region with tremendous growth potential, the deterioration in the overall outlook partly reflects insufficient policy adjustment. In that context, and to reap this potential, strong and sound domestic policy measures are needed to restart the growth engine.

2016

October 25, 2016

IMF Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, October 2016

Description: These reports discuss recent economic developments and prospects for countries in various regions. They also address economic policy developments that have affected economic performance in the regions, and discuss key challenges faced by policymakers. They address regional policy developments and challenges, and provide country-specific data and analysis, including through analytical pieces on issues of interest to a particular region.

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