April 24, 2017

World Bank cautions Nigeria, others on 'excessive-borrowing'

21 April 2017, 01:59 | Austin Hogan

IMF: Nigeria's economy to grow by 0.8% in 2017

IMF forecasts modest pickup in sub-Saharan Africa growth

Growth this year will be "better than the 1.3 percent in 2016, the lowest in two decades, but we are not out of the woods yet", World Bank Africa Chief Economist Albert Zeufack told reporters in a video conference from Washington on Wednesday.

"Excluding these three countries, growth in the region was estimated to be 4.1 percent in 2016", the report said.

"However, the recovery remains weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty", World Bank said.

Similarly, the International Monetary Fund also predicted that the nation's economy would rise by 0.8 per cent in 2017, adding that agriculture and big government spending would drive the growth.

Risks to growth could occur if there is a slippage on reforms, heightened security concerns and policy uncertainty, leading to a sudden stop in investments, Zeufack said.

According to the report, Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent's largest economies, were already seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016.

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The economist said Tanzania was among seven countries in Africa that continued to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand as well as posting an annual growth rate above 5.4 percent in the past two years.

"As countries move towards fiscal adjustment, we need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery".

The World Bank's Africa's Pulse says Africa can greatly increase its per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), if it is able to bridge the huge infrastructure gap in sectors of its economy. "The global economic outlook is improving and should support the recovery in the region", the data stated. It will remain subdued for oil exporters, while metal exporters are projected to see a moderate uptick.

GDP growth in countries whose economies depend less on extractive commodities should remain robust, underpinned by infrastructure investments, resilient services sector, and the recovery of agriculture production. He also added that the growing protectionism in the West could pose a risk for sub-Saharan African economies but it could also present opportunities for the continent to be self-sufficient and create jobs. This is especially the case for Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania.

"This low growth rate was driven mainly by unfavourable external developments, with commodity prices remaining low, and hard domestic conditions", the report said.

The Africa's Pulse analysis released by the World Bank says that with the high poverty rate, the region is faced with the urgent need to regain the momentum in growth and make it more inclusive, which will require deep reforms to improve institution for private sector growth, and develop local capital markets as well as improve the quantity of public infrastructure, enhance the efficiency of utilities including the strengthening of domestic resource mobilization. The region experienced a slowdown in investment growth from almost eight per cent in 2014 to 0.6 per cent in 2015.

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