GDP growth is projected to decline to 6.5 % in 2018, down from an estimated 7% in 2017, due to lower investments, while the pickup in net exports is weak. Growth in 2017 was mainly driven by the combined effects of strong improvement in net exports as percent of GDP, private consumption, and investments that were still relatively high. Inflation is expected to remain at 3.5%, given the relatively high oil price and housing and services-driven demand.
The latest official unemployment rates show weak links between growth and employment generation: the unemployment rate was 39% in 2015, with women (49%) and rural areas (59%) showing higher rates. Meanwhile, the employment-to-population ratio is less than 25%.
The poverty rate (at $1.9 USD 2011 PPP) is expected to be around 16.5% in 2018, with small reductions in the medium term if economic growth is not mirrored by increased dynamism in the private sector. However, the country’s monitoring of welfare is expected to take a significant step forward in 2018. A new National Strategy for Development of Statistics is being prepared and expected to be released this year.