Africa’s general economic performance continues to recover and GDP growth is projected to accelerate to 4.0 per cent in 2019 and 4.1 percent in 2020, according to the 2019 African Economic Outlook report, launched on Tuesday by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Published annually since 2003, the report that was launched on the sidelines of the 54th AfDB Annual Meetings in the Equatorial Guinean capital Malabo provides data on Africa’s economic performance and outlook.
“Africa’s general economic performance continues to improve, with gross domestic product growth forecasted to grow at an impressive rate, however, it remains insufficient to address the structural challenges of persistent current and fiscal deficits and debt vulnerability, “said Hanan Morsy, AfDB’s director of research while launching the report.
She noted that reducing bilateral tariffs, eliminating non-tariff barriers and keeping rules of origin hold key to increase Africa GDP growth to 4.5 percent annually.
“The most significant decision by African political leaders last year was their collective willingness to move forward with Africa’s economic integration. A borderless Africa is not just a political ideal; it is a cornerstone for a competitive continental market to accelerate GDP growth,” said Morsy.
According to the African Economic Outlook report, 40 percent of African countries are projected to see growth of at least 5 percent in 2019, however, the challenge is to achieve a higher growth path that is inclusive and pro-employment.
Africa’s working-age population is projected to increase from 705 million in 2018 to almost 1.0 billion by 2030, said part of the report.
At the current rate of labor force growth, Africa needs to create about 12 million new jobs every year to prevent unemployment from rising, according to African Economic Outlook.
The report suggests that more needs to be done to encourage large companies to set up businesses in Africa and to help small firms grow by removing constraints such as poor infrastructure, political instability, and corruption.
According to the report, in 2018, real GDP in East Africa grew by an estimated 5.7 percent, slightly less than the 5.9 percent in 2017 and the highest among African regions.
Economic growth in East Africa is projected to remain strong, at 5.9 percent in 2019 and 6.1 percent in 2020. The countries with the highest economic growth are Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Djibouti, according to report findings.
Equatorial Guinea hosts the bank's 2019 annual meetings from June 11-14, under the theme: “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity.”
The five-day event has brought together close to 3,000 participants from across Africa and beyond including, African heads of state and government, finance ministers, central bank governors, policy makers, civil society organisations, development partners and captains of industry from the Bank Group's 80 Member States.