Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Ghana has lost its mantle as the African economy likely to grow the quickest this year to Ethiopia, which has held the position for most of the past decade, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) data.

West Africa’s second-biggest economy should expand 6.3% this year, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday. That’s lower than the 8.9% forecast in October, and is also less than the raised 7.4% estimate for Ivory Coast and the prediction for Ethiopia, which was held at 8.5%.

Commodities, including oil, gold and cocoa, are the mainstay of Ghana’s $43bn economy, which surged 8.5% last year as the Sankofa crude field started up in May. Its growth booms and busts have been closely linked to oil since it became a producer in 2010. Ethiopia, whose GDP is almost double Ghana’s, has drawn investors including General Electric, Standard Bank Group and hundreds of Chinese companies.

The IMF increased its forecast for expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa to 3.4% this year and 3.7% the next "as the challenging outlook in commodity exporters gradually improves".

Nigeria, the region’s most-populous nation and top crude producer, will grow 2.1%, matching the lender’s estimate released in the January 22 update to the outlook, while SA, the world’s biggest source of platinum, will expand 1.5%, more than the 0.9% prediction three months ago. The two economies account for almost half of the region’s GDP.

In January, forecasts from the World Bank and African Development Bank also showed that Ghana would expand the fastest this year. The World Bank will publish an updated report on African economies Wednesday.