Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is projected at an average of 3.7 percent in 2015 down from 4.6 percent in 2014. However, despite the slowdown of Africa’s biggest economies, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region is expected to pick up to an average of 4.4 percent and 4.8 percent in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This increase will be driven by domestic demand, supported by continuing infrastructure investment and private consumption fueled by lower oil prices. External demand is also expected to support growth, because of stronger prospects in high-income economies.

Consumption dynamics will differ for oil exporters and importers. Private consumption growth is expected to slow in the oil exporters as cuts to subsidies to alleviate pressure on the budget result in higher fuel costs. Purchasing power is also expected to decline due to currency weakness, which would push up the cost of imports in local currency.

By contrast, lower fuel prices are expected to contribute to lower inflation in the oil importers, which should help boost consumers’ purchasing power and support domestic demand. The price level impact of currency depreciation could, however, offset some of these effects.

Remittance inflows to the region are also projected to slow down in 2015, reflecting in part the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, before picking up gradually in 2016–17. China’s investment slowdown, and low commodity prices, suggests that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows may not provide much support to growth.

The fiscal policy stance is expected to remain tight throughout 2015 in oil-exporting countries. The revised budgets in Angola and Nigeria indicate that while capital expenditures will bear the burden of expenditure measures, recurrent expenditures will also be reduced. Despite these adjustments, fiscal deficits in these countries are likely to remain high because of low revenues. Fiscal deficits are also expected to remain elevated in oil-importing countries, as spending on goods and services and wages continues to expand.

The risks to the region’s outlook remain tilted to the downside. On the domestic front, political factors associated with elections in a number of countries, and insurgencies, including terrorism, in others, are key risks for the region in 2015.

Weak health systems remain a concern. The Ebola crisis sheds light on the need for better, well-financed and more resilient health systems across the continent, to contain risks of communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.  Expanding quality basic health services remains a key priority.

On the external front, a sharper-than-expected slowdown in China, a further decline in oil prices, a stalling of the recovery in Europe, or a sudden deterioration in global liquidity conditions are the main risks.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2015

The Bank’s strategy in Africa to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity focuses on a wide range of priority areas from designing and implementing economic recovery plans to providing fiscal support in the effective delivery of basic services, extending safety nets, ensuring food security, and providing support for small farmers.

Regional integration in Africa remains a critical piece of our strategy to improve connectivity, leverage economies of scale, and enhance productivity.

Increasing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank’s work in the region as inadequate electricity supply remains the greatest infrastructure obstacle in Africa.

Knowledge is essential to our effort to improve development outcomes and make aid more effective. Country Economic Updates, produced in consultation with clients and other stakeholders, help promote substantive discussions around key policy issues.  Analytical work on structural transformation, on macroeconomic vulnerabilities, on fragility and poverty, but also on more specific areas such as the management of drylands, addressing the challenges of the Sahel, improving development outcomes in the Horn of Africa, and tapping the opportunities in land reform, urbanization, and demography are also underway.

Integrated urban planning, addressing water, sanitation, transport, housing, power and governance, will be vital to making urbanization a true driver of productivity and income growth, and are at the core of our work in Africa.

There is a continuing need to accelerate progress in boosting agricultural productivity and output in Africa. Supporting smallholders among others through investment in improved technologies, rural financial services, and better access to markets is vital.  Equally important is the push to boost agribusiness investments and improve land and water management by adopting modern irrigation practices, preventing conflicts over water resources and implementing climate-smart agriculture solutions.

Each year in Africa and for the next decade, 11 million youth will enter the job market.  Young Africans must be equipped with the right skills and training. There is still a mismatch between what African students are learning and the skills employers are actually seeking.  To help bridge this gap, the Bank has launched initiatives to boost STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) across the region.

Comprehensive and cost-effective social protection systems are essential to help the poor and vulnerable weather crises and rise out of extreme poverty. It is crucial for countries in need of making macroeconomic adjustments in response to shocks to pre-identify the vulnerable and cushion the adverse impact of such adjustments.

Africa’s poor are likely to be hit hardest by climate change, particularly changes in temperature and rainfall patterns.  Investing in climate-change adaptation techniques and disaster risk management will remain top priority.  

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2015

The Bank approved $11.6 billion for Sub Saharan Africa for 103 projects this fiscal year. Support included $1.2 billion in IBRD loans and $10.4 billion in IDA commitments. Sub-Saharan Africa’s regional integration–related lending was about $2.3 billion. IDA assistance finances regional infrastructure; sexual and gender-based antiviolence and women’s health initiatives; trade and economic integration; and regional public goods, such as disease surveillance laboratories.

IBRD is partnering with IFC and MIGA to support a joint energy business plan for Nigeria by leveraging the full range of the Bank Group’s products and expertise to attract private investment. The plan will support the country’s energy reform program and help it to increase installed generation capacity by about 1,000 megawatts.

The Bank is also supporting the 80-megawatt Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

Assistance to smallholders— The Bank Group approved projects to develop commercially oriented and competitive value chains in Cameroon, and support to increase and intensify the productivity of the Rwandan agricultural and livestock sectors.

The WBG mobilized more than $1.6 billion in assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone following the outbreak of Ebola in 2014. These IDA grants are helping the three countries to provide treatment and care, contain and prevent the spread of infections, allow communities to cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems.

As one of the largest financiers of higher education in the region, the Bank Group is mobilizing its knowledge and leadership behind countries to champion education. A $150-million Africa Higher-Education Centers of Excellence project is funding 19 university-based centers for advanced education in West and Central Africa. It will support regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering and ICT to address regional challenges.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2015

The Bank Group’s strategy for Africa is being implemented by leveraging partnerships, knowledge and the financing instruments. The WBG works closely with the UN, and with various multilateral and bilateral partners.  The Bank collaborates with African regional and sub-regional organizations, such as the African Union, EAC, ECOWAS, CEMAC and SADC, which play a critical role in a host of sub-regional and regional programs and in promoting economic integration. We have also developed strong partnerships with the private sector, think thanks, parliamentarians and African civil society.

Mobilizing partners to deepen and accelerate support for Africa is a top priority and requires closer collaboration with non-conventional development actors, including Brazil, China and India, as well as global funds, Arab funds, and private foundations.

The Africa Region also leverages the combined strength of the entire WBG by working closely with IFC and MIGA in energy, agribusiness, water, transport and other priority areas.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2015

the population growth rate of Liberia, which has the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa
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