By Temitope Ponle, Abuja.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth at about four per cent in 2023 and 2024.
The AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the virtual inauguration of the maiden edition of 2023 Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook on Thursday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Adesina said that this was higher than the world averages of 2.7 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.
He also said the bank’s estimates showed that Africa’s average real GDP growth slowed to 3.8 per cent in 2022.
“In spite the challenging external environment, Africa has demonstrated continued resilience with all but one country maintaining positive growth in 2022 and with outlooks stable for 2023 and 2024.
“Africa’s GDP growth is projected to average about four per cent in 2023 and 2024, higher than the projected world averages of 2.7 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.”
Furthermore, the AfDB president said there were top five performing African countries that were projected to grow by more than 5.5 per cent.
“The top five performing African countries before the COVID-19 pandemic are projected to grow by more than 5.5 per cent and could reclaim their position among the world’s top 10 fastest growing economies in 2023 to 2024.”
The countries include Libya with 12.9 per cent; Niger with 9.6 per cent; Senegal with 9.4 per cent; Rwanda with 7.9 per cent; and Côte d’Ivoire with 7.1 per cent.
However, Adesina said that the projected stability in medium-term growth in Africa largely reflected the benefits of policy support in the region.
He also said that it reflected in global efforts to mitigate the impacts of external shocks and rising uncertainty, and stable growth in Asia, one of Africa’s main trading partners.
Moreover, he said that the welcome recovery and the economic resilience of African economies should be with cautious optimism.
Furthermore, Adesina said that the 2023 edition of Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook recognised the challenges that African economies faced in navigating the multiple global risks.
“The report thus advocates bold policy actions at the national, regional and global scales to help African economies mitigate the compounding risks.
“The bank reiterates its call for accelerating implementation of structural reforms to enhance government-enabled private sector industrialisation in key sectors.
“In agriculture and agribusiness; in climate-smart and just energy transitions; in value chain development in natural resource sectors, especially in minerals for green development.
“In quality healthcare infrastructure and pharmaceutical industries; in digitalisation and e-governance and more.”
He said that the report also presented policy options to mitigate the effects of tighter global financial conditions and revitalise financial flows to Africa.
“Tapping into the private sector’s accumulated savings (at home and abroad) and channeling them to urgently finance infrastructure and social development will be key, as the continent continues to build back better to secure a resilient, prosperous, and sustainable future for all Africans,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Economist, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, New York, USA, has said that the report also showed the resilience and growth of African economies.
Sachs is also United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“If one had been asked in 2019, suppose that there would be a global pandemic; suppose that after that, there would be a major war.
“Sanctions regime and disruption of the world energy markets and food market; suppose that interest rates were going to rise significantly in the United States and in other key currencies, what would you expect for Africa?
“I think many people would have said, potentially disaster, but in fact, what this report emphasises is that African economies are growing. They’re growing consistently.”
Sachs also said that Africa’s GDP would rise to seven per cent or more in the coming decades.
“And that what we are going to see in the next decade is building on resiliency that we see in this report, a real acceleration of Africa sustainable development, so that Africa will be the fastest growing part of the world economy.”
He also said that the opportunities for Africa to maintain its growth would be the integration of its economy, strategic industrial policy and finance.
“If the African Union and the member states continue on this path of rapid integration, and that’s integration in policy, its integration in trans-boundary infrastructure, its integration in a single market.
“This will substantially increase Africa’s resilience and rate of growth.
“Second is what we’ve heard about strategic industrial policy. I think it is absolutely grounded by the way on what will be a massive upgrading of skills in the years ahead.
“Because we are going to see a flowering of higher education and advanced skills across Africa. It is already happening but it will be massive, and it will underpin this strategic transformation of industry.
“And the final part is finance. Africa does not have too much debt by the way. But we are going to have a breakthrough in long-term sustainable development finance,” Sachs said.