Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year is set to drop to its lowest level in more than 20 years, reflecting the adverse external environment, and a lackluster policy response in many countries. However, the aggregate picture is one of multispeed growth: while most of non-resource-intensive countries—half of the countries in the region—continue to perform well, as they benefit from lower oil prices, an improved business environment, and continued strong infrastructure investment, most commodity exporters are under severe economic strains. This is particularly the case for oil exporters whose near-term prospects have worsened significantly in recent months. Sub-Saharan Africa remains a region of immense economic potential, but policy adjustment in the hardest-hit countries needs to be enacted promptly to allow for a growth rebound.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to record strong economic growth, despite the weaker global economic environment. Regional output rose by 5 percent in 2011, with growth set to increase slightly in 2012, helped by still-strong commodity prices, new resource exploitation, and the improved domestic conditions that have underpinned several years of solid trend growth in the region's low-income countries. But there is variation in performance across the region, with output in middle-income countries tracking more closely the global slowdown and with some sub-regions adversely affected, at least temporarily, by drought. Threats to the outlook include the risk of intensified financial stresses in the euro area spilling over into a further slowing of the global economy and the possibility of an oil price surge triggered by rising geopolitical tensions.
Sub-Saharan Africa's prospects have deteriorated somewhat and the risks have increased, according to this report. Growth in the region is projected to dip to 6 percent in 2008 and 2009. The fall is due mainly to the global food and fuel price shock, which has weighed particularly on growth in oil-importing countries, and to the global financial market turmoil, which has slowed global growth and demand for Africa's exports. Inflation is expected to rise to 12 percent in 2008, mainly on account of the food and fuel price shock. As a result of rising prices, particularly of food, poverty may well be on the increase in 2008. In 2009, inflation should ease to 10 percent, helped by recent commodity price declines. There are significant risks to the outlook related to a potentially deeper and longer period of global financial turmoil and resulting slowdown in global activity, and substantial uncertainty concerning commodity prices.
The five Regional Economic Outlooks published biannually by the IMF cover Asia and Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. In each volume, recent economic developments and prospects for the region are discussed as a whole, as well as for specific countries. The reports include key data for countries in the region. Each report focuses on policy developments that have affected economic performance in the region, and discusses key challenges faced by policymakers. The near-term outlook, key risks, and their related policy challenges are analyzed throughout the reports, and current issues are explored, such as when and how to withdraw public interventions in financial systems globally while maintaining a still-fragile economic recovery.These indispensable surveys are the product of comprehensive intradepartmental reviews of economic developments that draw primarily on information the IMF staff gathers through consultation with member countries.
Ms. Nancy Louise Happe, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, and Ms. Laure Redifer
This paper describes why the international community needs to act now to stand a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The paper gives example of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated per capita income of about US$100. According to the World Bank, recent national household surveys find 44 percent of the people in Ethiopia cannot meet basic needs. The paper discusses that Ethiopia in many ways epitomizes why the MDGs are important and why more money is needed to achieve them.
Agriculture is an important sector of the Zimbabwean economy. At independence, land ownership was highly skewed, as the sector was dominated by a few commercial farms. The initial phases of land reform, along with liberalization of the agricultural sector throughout the 1990s, helped to increase Zimbabwe’s agricultural productivity, but these gains have been reversed over the past few years. After the bumper crop season of 1999/2000, yields have plummeted, owing to droughts and the disruption of commercial farming under the Fast-Track Land Reform Program. The future of the sector is largely dependent on the success of resettled farmers, which requires better weather conditions, the availability of inputs and capital, and a stable economic environment. Preliminary data for the 2002/03 crop season indicate that, for many of Zimbabwe’s main crops, production continues to be low.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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