SA and Nigeria drag down African growth, but rest of continent is soaring
The continent’s economic growth will once again be driven by East Africa, which will be the fastest-expanding region for the fifth straight year
Johannesburg/Abuja/Lagos — Growth in Africa’s two largest economies may be sputtering along but that won’t stop the continent’s GDP from expanding at the fastest pace since at least 2012. GDP growth for the continent is forecast accelerate to 4% in 2019, up from an estimated 3.5% in 2018, making it the fastest-growing region in the world after Asia, according to the African Development Bank. And that’s despite Nigeria and SA, which make up almost half of the continent’s GDP, “pulling down Africa’s average growth,” as the Abidjan-based lender said in its latest economic outlook report. Nigeria’s GDP will expand by 2.3% in 2019, which is below the rate of population growth, as the government struggles to reduce the nation’s oil dependence and attract foreign investment. SA’s expansion will be even slower, at 1.7%, as the continent’s most industrialised economy battles to recover from 2018's recession. Both countries are in the AfDB’s list of the 10 slowest-growing economies.