Africa’s economic growth is projected to accelerate to 4.7 percent in 2014 and 5.0 percent in 2015, compared with an estimated growth of 4.0 percent last year, a UN report said on Tuesday.
In southern Africa, growth is projected to increase from 3.6 percent in 2013 to 4.2 percent in 2014, said the report titled “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014.”
Growth prospects in Southern Africa are improving, largely because of projected increases in South Africa’s growth rate from 2.7 percent in 2013 to 3.3 percent in 2014, declining labor market unrest, increased investments, and rising mineral output, according to the report.
“Southern Africa is likely to attract increased foreign investment thanks to huge coal deposits and offshore gas discoveries in Mozambique, increased oil output in Angola, and the increased investment in the copper sector in Zambia and uranium mining in Namibia,” the report said.
In east Africa, growth is expected to increase from 6.0 percent in 2013 to 6.4 percent in 2014, said the report.
Real GDP growth in East Africa will benefit from several positive factors, including increased consumer spending in Kenya, increased consumption and investment in the natural gas sector in Tanzania, increased activity in construction, transport, telecommunications, financial services, exploration and construction in the burgeoning oil industry in Uganda, and improved agricultural and service sector growth spearheaded by the wholesale and retail trade sector performance in Ethiopia.
The report also projected growth in north Africa at 3.3 percent in 2014, compared with 2.3 percent last year. Growth in west Africa is expected to increase from 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent in 2014, with continued investments in the oil and minerals sector, while growth in central Africa is expected to accelerate in 2014 to 4.8 percent from 4.2 percent in 2013.
The report said growth prospects in Africa are expected to be supported by improvements in the global economic and regional business environment, relatively high commodity prices, easing infrastructural constraints, and increasing trade and investment ties with emerging economies.
Other important factors for Africa’s medium-term growth prospects include increasing domestic demand and improvements in economic governance and management.
But the report noted that Africa’s recent growth is heavily driven by commodity production and exports, but remains far below the continent’s potential. Growth is still failing to translate into meaningful job creation and the broad-based economic and social development needed to reduce the high poverty and rising inequality rates in many countries.
Despite the expected robust growth prospects, some significant internal and external downside risks and uncertainties could derail progress in Africa, the report warned.
Moreover, a global economic slowdown would have a significant negative impact on Africa’s performance, the report noted.