The Africa’s Pulse, is a bi-annual macro-economic update of the state of the continent. Each edition also features one or two special topics. It is published by the Office of the Chief Economist in the Africa Region of the World Bank.
The April 2019 edition featured two special topics: ‘Implementing Regional Solutions to Address Fragility and Conflict’ and ‘Harnessing the Digital Revolution to Eradicate Poverty’. I contributed to this edition, especially the chapter on fragility which I co-wrote.
The report estimates GDP growth in 2018 at a lower-than-expected 2.3%, forecast to rise to 2.8% in 2019.
It notes that the three largest African economies—Nigeria, Angola and South Africa—play a big role in the region’s growth. While Nigeria grew faster in 2018 than in 2017, growth remained below 2%. Angola continued its recession, with growth falling sharply as oil production stayed weak. South Africa came out of recession in the third quarter of 2018, but growth was subdued mostly due to policy uncertainty weakening investor confidence.
The report also outlines issues which continue to hold back growth across the region—debt and fragility.
I co-wrote the chapter on conflict and fragility, which notes that low growth in a handful of fragile countries costs the continent more than half a percentage point of growth per year. Countries in fragile situations should focus on building state capacity and strong institutions that secure peace and stability, as well as deliver better services to their people to rebuild the social and economic foundation needed for a successful future.