Africa’s economic growth to rise by 4.8%

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and its development partners, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have projected that Africa’s economic growth would expand by 4.8 per cent in 2014.

The bank and the stakeholders also said that the growth rate would rise by 5.7 per cent in 2015.

The projection is contained in AfDB’s  “African Economic Outlook 2014” report which was made available to the public on Wednesday in Abuja.

The annual report said that Africa had maintained an average growth of about four per cent, compared with three per cent for the global economy.

It said the growth rate underscored the continent’s resilience to global “headwinds”.

It added that the economic performance varied across regions with sub-Saharan Africa having five per cent in 2013 and 5.8 per cent projection in 2014.

The report said that East and West Africa recorded the fastest growth in 2013 with six per cent respectively, adding that growth in low-income countries in the sub-regions also stood at six per cent.

The bank disclosed that upper-middle-income countries in North and Southern Africa recorded low growth rates of below three per cent.

It added that based on a gradual strengthening of the world economy and improvements in political and social stability in the countries currently in conflicts, Africa’s average growth could accelerate to five per cent in 2014.

The report also said that the rate could also rise to 5.6 per cent in 2015, the levels that were last seen before the onset of the 2009 recession.

The bank, however, hinted that “if the global economy should remain weak or if political and social tensions within Africa were to improve less than assumed, growth would be lower than projected”.

According to the report, inflationary pressures have eased in many countries as energy prices have stopped rising and food prices have declined.

“These developments, together with prudent fiscal policies, have provided some scope for monetary policy to reduce interest rates.

“But in other countries where fiscal policy has been lax and where currencies have weakened, monetary policy has tightened to stem inflationary pressure,” it said.