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Vol 59 No 21

Published 26th October 2018

Struggling to keep pace

The high priests of world finance say African economies are falling short of the growth needed to keep up with surging populations

Although the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank maintain that Africa's economies will, on average, expand faster during 2018 than last year, both Washington DC institutions have downgraded their growth forecasts. While the IMF and the World Bank respectively predicted overall sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) real GDP growth of 3.4% and 3.1% at their April meetings, at this month's annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia, they downgraded their predictions for the region to 3.1% and 2.7%. That works out at less than one percentage point in per-capita terms at a time when the IMF's African Department director Abebe Selassie has warned that hoped-for future per-capita growth of approximately 1.5% through the early 2020s is much too low for Africa's needs. At this rate, ignoring the question of income distribution and differentiation between economies, SSA's GDP per-capita would take until the late 2060s to double.

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