IMF Economic Outlook: Ethiopia expected to be star performer on the continent

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Several sub-Saharan African economies will grow at more than 6 per cent this year but the rest of the continent will drag growth back to 2.5 per cent, highlighting the emergence of a “two-speed Africa”.

In its annual economic outlook for the continent, the International Monetary Fund warned that the modest rebound, from a dismal 1.5 per cent last year — Africa’s worst performance in two decades — is driven largely by one-off factors in the continent’s largest economies.

These include a pick-up of oil production in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer and its biggest economy measured in purchasing power parity terms, as well as slightly stronger oil prices, which helps Angola, the second-largest oil producer.

Even so, Nigeria and Angola are projected to grow in 2017 at only 0.8 and 1.3 per cent respectively. South Africa, the continent’s other big economy, is also forecast to grow at just 0.8 per cent.

The fund projects that six economies — Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia — will grow at above 6 per cent. Several others should grow at above 5 per cent. Ethiopia, which is recovering from last year’s drought and is a potentially large market with 100m people, is expected to be the continent’s star performer in 2017, growing at 7.5 per cent.

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