Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Cautious optimism for Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic future

By our staff reporter,

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The latest Chief Economists Outlook from the World Economic Forum paints a cautiously optimistic picture for the economic prospects of Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming years.

According to the survey of leading chief economists, growth expectations for the Sub-Saharan Africa region have improved compared to the previous outlook. While growth remains relatively modest, over three-quarters of respondents now expect at least moderate growth in the region in 2024, up from just two-thirds in the January 2024 survey.

“There are signs that the economic fortunes of Sub-Saharan Africa are starting to turn a corner, albeit slowly,” said the WEF’s Chief Economist. “Policymakers in the region will need to navigate a complex global landscape, but there is cautious optimism that the pieces are starting to fall into place for a period of more robust and sustained growth.”

The improved growth outlook reflects a number of factors. Across the region, business and consumer confidence appears to be gradually recovering, supported by easing inflationary pressures and a stabilization of global supply chains. Additionally, the survey highlights that the region is expected to benefit from the ongoing technological transformation and green energy transition, which are seen as growth drivers in the medium-term.

However, the economists note that significant challenges and risks remain. Geopolitical tensions, domestic political volatility, high debt levels, and the growing impacts of climate change all cloud the longer-term prospects for the region. “Sub-Saharan Africa is not out of the woods yet,” cautioned one respondent. “Policymakers will need to redouble efforts to build economic resilience and promote sustainable development in the face of these headwinds.”

The WEF survey points to a range of policy priorities that could help bolster growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, including investments in infrastructure, education and skills development, as well as measures to improve access to finance and strengthen institutional capacity. Striking the right balance between economic, social and environmental objectives will be crucial.

Overall, the latest Chief Economists Outlook suggests cautious optimism is warranted for the economic trajectory of Sub-Saharan Africa, but significant work remains to translate this into a period of inclusive and durable prosperity for the region.

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