Growth to top 5% in sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank report looks for progress in cutting poverty

An industrial complex in South Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is enjoying a boom.

An industrial complex in South Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is enjoying a boom.


Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth rate should accelerate past 5 per cent by next year, which is more than double the current global average, according to the latest World Bank report on the region.

In its latest Africa’s Pulse analysis, the multilateral lender forecasts that high commodities output, increasing investment and a revival in the world economy should boost the continent's growth from 4.9 per cent this year to 5.2 per cent in 2015.

Global Gross Domestic Product was forecast to grow by an average of 2.4 per cent this year.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) figure was particularly positive, with experts forecasting it will reach record levels by 2015, when it should hit $54bn (41.2bn euro) a year.

Recent discoveries of oil, natural gas, copper, and other strategic minerals, and the expansion or discovery of several mines across the continent, coupled with better political and economic governance, were also contributing to the region's solid performance.

After more than a decade of strong economic growth, the World Bank says that Africa has been able to cut poverty on the continent by nearly 10 per cent.

Provisional figures show that the proportion of Africans living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 58 per cent to 48.5 per cent between 1996 and 2010.

“If properly harnessed to unleash their full potential, these trends hold the promise of more growth, much less poverty and accelerating shared prosperity for (Africa) in the foreseeable future,” said the World Banks Africa department lead economist, Punam Chuhan-Pole.

However, the positive outlook was tempered by the fact that some countries with significant natural resources were not preforming as well as others with less wealth to draw upon.

The report named resource-rich countries Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria as resource-rich countries that needed to improve their efforts in this regard.

Positive regional developments highlighted included the spreading energy exploration in east Africa that had led to the opening of several oil and gas wells.

Coal and gas
In southern Africa, Mozambique was expected to attract increased FDI in its huge coal deposits and offshore gas discoveries, while Zambia was expected to see continued investment into its copper sector.

In west Africa, investment was likely to keep flowing into minerals in Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Africa's Pulse noted that Sub-Saharan exports to non-traditional markets, especially those of China, Brazil and India, were also driving growth.