Regional Economic Reports

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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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Sub-Saharan Africa region
Date: October 2013
The October 2013 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa provides a comprehensive report on the prospects for growth in the region, as well as the major risks to the outlook. Generally, growth is expected to remain strong despite a downward revision since the May 2013 report. The report analyzes drivers of growth in nonresource-rich sub-Saharan African countries, and examines the risks to frontier market economies of volatile capital flows as they become more integrated with international capital markets.
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Sub-Saharan Africa region
Date: May 2013
Growth remained strong in the region in 2012, with regional GDP rates increasing in most countries (excluding Nigeria and South Africa). Projections point to a moderate, broad-based acceleration in growth to around 5 1/2 percent in 2013-14, reflecting a gradually strengthening global economy and robust domestic demand. Investment in export-oriented sectors remains an important economic driver, and an agriculture rebound in drought-affected areas will also help growth. Uncertainties in the global economy are the main risk to the region's outlook, but plausible adverse shocks would likely not have a large effect on the region's overall performance.
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Sub-Saharan Africa region
Date: October 2012
Economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have remained generally robust despite a sluggish global economy. The near-term outlook for the region remains broadly positive, and growth is projected at 5 1/4 percent a year in 2012-13. Most low-income countries are projected to continue to grow strongly, supported by domestic demand, including from investment. The outlook is less favorable for many of the middle-income countries, especially South Africa, that are more closely linked to European markets and thus experience a more noticeable drag from the external environment. The main risks to the outlook are an intensification of financial stresses in the euro zone and a sharp fiscal adjustment in the US-the so called fiscal cliff.
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Sub-Saharan Africa region
Date: May 2012
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to record strong economic growth, despite the weaker global economic environment. Regional output rose by 5 percent in 2011, with growth set to increase slightly in 2012, helped by still-strong commodity prices, new resource exploitation, and the improved domestic conditions that have underpinned several years of solid trend growth in the region's low-income countries. But there is variation in performance across the region, with output in middle-income countries tracking more closely the global slowdown and with some sub-regions adversely affected, at least temporarily, by drought. Threats to the outlook include the risk of intensified financial stresses in the euro area spilling over into a further slowing of the global economy and the possibility of an oil price surge triggered by rising geopolitical tensions.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2011
This year looks set to be another encouraging one for most sub-Saharan African economies. Reflecting mainly strong demand but also elevated commodity prices, the region's economy is set to expand by more than 5¼ percent in 2011. For 2012, the IMF staff's baseline projection is for growth to be higher at 5¾ percent, owing to one-off boosts to production in a number of countries. There are, however, specters at the feast: the increase in global food and fuel prices, amplified by drought affecting parts of the region, has hit the budgets of the poor and sparked rising inflation, and hesitations in the global recovery threaten to weaken export and growth prospects. The projection for 2012 for the region is highly contingent on global economic growth being sustained at about 4 percent. A further slowing of growth in advanced economies, curtailing global demand, would generate significant headwinds for the region's ongoing expansion, with more globally integrated countries likely to be most affected. Policies in the coming months need to tread a fine line between addressing the challenges that strong growth and recent exogenous shocks have engendered and warding off the adverse effects of another global downturn. In some slower-growing, mostly middle-income countries without binding financial constraints, policies should clearly remain supportive of output growth, even more so if global growth sputters. Provided the global economy experiences the currently predicted slow and steady growth, most of the region's low-income countries should focus squarely on medium-term considerations in setting fiscal policy while tightening monetary policy wherever nonfood inflation has climbed above single digits. In the event of a global downturn, subject to financing constraints, policies in these countries should focus on maintaining planned spending initiatives, while allowing automatic stabilizers to operate on the revenue side. For the region's oil exporters, better terms of trade provide a good opportunity to build up policy buffers against further price volatility.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: May 2011
Sub-Saharan Africa's economic recovery is well under way, although among country groups there is variation in the speed of the recovery. In most of the region's low-income countries and among the seven oil exporters growth is almost back to precrisis levels. However, in the region's middle-income countries, including South Africa, the recovery has been more gradual. This Regional Economic Outlook describes the impact of recent economic developments---sharp increases in food and fuel prices will need fiscal interventions targeting the poor, while higher oil prices will be a boon to some countries and adversely affect others. Policy adjustments are needed to move away from the supportive stance of the last few years but should be balanced against the need to alleviate the impact of rising food prices on poor households.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2010
The October 2010 Regional Economic Outlook features: (i) an overview of economic developments and prospects in sub-Saharan Africa; (ii) an analytical assessment of how monetary policy changes are transmitted through the region's economies; and (iii) a study of why growth rates in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have lagged behind other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The overview highlights the broad-based economic recovery that is now under way in sub-Saharan Africa and projects growth of 5 percent in 2010 and 5 1/2 percent in 2011. It explores the resilience of most economies in the region to the global financial crises of 2007-09 and explains why sound economic policy implementation and a growing orientation of trade toward Emerging Asia are expected to continue to underpin growth. The second chapter provides evidence suggesting that monetary policy may have more power to influence monetary conditions than previously assumed. Main messages from the WAEMU study are the importance of strong policy environments and political stability for achieving sustained growth; and of robust fiscal frameworks for directing resources towards priority spending needs.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: April 2010
The economic slowdown in sub-Saharan Africa looks set to be mercifully brief. Recovery is now under way across the region. The regional's relative resilience during this global recession, compared with previous global downturns, owes much to the health of its economies and the strengthening of policy frameworks in the run-up to the crisis. Countercyclical macroeconomic policies played an important role, with nearly two-thirds of those sub-Saharan Africa countries that experienced a slowdown in 2009 increasing government spending to buttress economic activity. However, progress toward the Millennium Development Goals receded. Middle-income and oil-exporting countries were hit hardest by the collapse in world trade and commodity markets; the regional's low-income countries escaped fairly lightly. Looking ahead, fiscal policies in sub-Saharan Africa generally need to be refocused toward medium-term objectives, macroeconomic policy buffers rebuilt, and financial systems strengthened.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2009
Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hard by the global recession, but signs of resilience remain. While South Africa and some other middle-income countries were caught in the turbulence of international financial markets, and oil exporters saw government revenues plunge, some countries with wider commodity bases have so far escaped the worst of the crisis. Also, and reassuringly, with stronger initial fiscal and external positions than in past downturns, most countries in the region have been able to partially absorb external shocks by allowing fiscal deficits to rise and reducing interest rates. Exchange rates have generally been allowed to adjust. With many families affected by the crisis, however, progress toward the Millennium Development Goals has receded. Looking ahead, fiscal policy must balance support for the recovery with enhancing future growth prospects, debt sustainability, and poverty reduction. Published biannually in May and October.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: April 2009
The global financial crisis has worsened significantly the economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa. Demand for African exports and commodity export prices have fallen, and remittance flows may be weakening. Tighter global credit and investor risk aversion have led to a reversal of portfolio inflows, less favorable conditions for trade finance, and could lower foreign direct investment. As a result, growth has started to slow markedly and fiscal and balance of payments pressures are mounting. Risks remain high and the prospects for recovery remain uncertain. Financial systems in the region have so far been resilient to the global crisis, but the economic slowdown is likely to increase credit risk and nonperforming loans and weaken financial institutions' balance sheets. Sub-Saharan African countries should seek to contain the adverse impact of the crisis on economic growth and poverty, while preserving important hard-won gains of recent years, including macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2008
Sub-Saharan Africa's prospects have deteriorated somewhat and the risks have increased, according to the October 2008 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is projected to dip to 6 percent in 2008 and 2009. The fall is due mainly to the global food and fuel price shock, which has weighed particularly on growth in oil-importing countries, and to the global financial market turmoil, which has slowed global growth and demand for Africa's exports. Inflation is expected to rise to 12 percent in 2008, mainly on account of the food and fuel price shock. As a result of rising prices, particularly of food, poverty may well be on the increase in 2008. In 2009, inflation should ease to 10 percent, helped by recent commodity price declines. There are significant risks to the outlook related to a potentially deeper and longer period of global financial turmoil and resulting slowdown in global activity, and substantial uncertainty concerning commodity prices.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: April 2008
The region's prospects continue to be promising, but global developments pose increased risks to the outlook. Growth in sub-Saharan Africa should again average about 6 1/2 percent in 2008 with oil exporters leading the way; meanwhile, growth in oil importers is expected to taper off, though only modestly. With food and energy prices still rising, inflation is projected to average about 8 1/2 percent this year for countries in the region, setting aside Zimbabwe. Risks in 2008 are tilted to the downside, but the region is better placed today to withstand a worsening of the global environment.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2007
The region's prospects look strong. Growth in sub-Saharan Africa should reach 6 percent in 2007 and 6¾ percent in 2008. The economic expansion is strongest in oil exporters but cuts across all country groups. This would extend a period of very good performance. In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing its strongest growth and lowest inflation in over 30 years.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: April 2007
Sub-Saharan Africa's growth performance during the past three years has been the best in more than three decades, and higher oil revenues and increased debt relief have been used to make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Despite spending pressures, most countries have managed to preserve macroeconomic stability with policies intended to support and sustain the region's higher growth. This latest REO is complemented by analyses on the macroeconomic challenges for oil producers, changing trade patterns, including with China, and the development of government debt markets.

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: September 2006
Prepared by the Policy Wing of the IMF African Department, and published twice a year in English and French, this report analyzes economic performance and short-term prospects of the 44 countries covered by the Department. Topics examined in recent volumes include responses to exogenous shocks, growth performance and growth-enhancing policies, the effectiveness of regional trade arrangements, macroeconomic implications of scaled-up aid, financial sector development, and fiscal decentralization. Detailed country data, grouped by oil-exporting and -importing countries and other analytical groupings as well as by subregion, are provided in a statistical appendix, and a list of relevant publications by the African Department is included.

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: May 2006
Prepared by the Policy Wing of the IMF African Department, and published twice a year in English and French, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa analyzes economic performance and short-term prospects of the 44 countries covered by the Department. Topics examined in recent volumes include responses to exogenous shocks, growth performance and growth-enhancing policies, the effectiveness of regional trade arrangements, macroeconomic implications of scaled-up aid, financial sector development, and fiscal decentralization. Detailed country data, grouped by oil-exporting and - importing countries and by subregion, are provided in an appendix and a statistical appendix, and a list of relevant publications by the African Department is included.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa Supplement
Date: October 2005
Against a background of an easing of demand for imports in advanced countries, average real GDP growth is now expected to decline slightly in 2005 from its strong performance in 2004.

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: May 2005
This first, annual issue of Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa analyzes economic, trade, and institutional issues in 2004, and prospects in 2005, for the 42 countries covered by the African Department (for data reasons, Eritrea and Liberia are excluded). Topics examined include responses to exogenous shocks, growth performance and growth-enhancing policies, and the effectiveness of regional trade arrangements. Detailed aggregate and country data (as of February 24, 2005) are provided in the appendix.
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Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: October 2004
This Outlook has a special focus on regional integration initiatives in Africa. As emphasized at the recent summit of the African Union, accelerated regional integration has the potential of boosting economic growth and promoting poverty reduction.

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: March 2004
The updated Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa paints a mixed picture of economic outcomes in 2003 and projections for 2004. On the bright side, a significant number of countries continued to experience relatively strong growth in 2003, and the number is expected to increase this year.

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa
Date: June 2003
The analysis and projections contained in this first issue of the African Department's Regional Economic Outlook aim at supplementing the Department's bilateral surveillance of economic developments and policies in its member countries. The survey of recent economic developments and prospects is the product of a comprehensive intradepartmental review of economic developments in sub-Saharan Africa that draws primarily on information the staff gathers through consultation with member countries in the context of surveillance and lending activities.