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Nigeria edging out of recession – World Bank

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Economic growth in Nigeria and some Africa counties is rebounding in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016, according to the new Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank.

Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, are seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016, although the recovery has been slow due to insufficient adjustment to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty.

World Bank in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday, said the Sub-saharan region is showing signs of recovery, and regional growth is projected to reach 2.6% in 2017.

“However, the recovery remains weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty”, World Bank said.

The latest data reveal that seven countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania) continue to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand, posting annual growth rates above 5.4% in 2015-2017.

“These countries house nearly 27% of the region’s population and account for 13% of the region’s total GDP. The global economic outlook is improving and should support the recovery in the region”.

Africa’s Pulse notes that the continent’s aggregate growth is expected to rise to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019, reflecting a recovery in the largest economies.

The region had experienced a slowdown in investment growth from nearly 8% in 2014 to 0.6% in 2015.

“As countries move towards fiscal adjustment, we need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery,” says Albert G. Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region.

“We need to implement reforms that increase the productivity of African workers and create a stable macroeconomic environment. Better and more productive jobs are instrumental to tackling poverty on the continent.”

“With poverty rates still high, regaining the growth momentum is imperative,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, World Bank Lead Economist and the author of the report.

“Growth needs to be more inclusive and will involve tackling the slowdown in investment and the high trade logistics that stand in the way of competitiveness.”

The Africa’s Pulse report dedicates a special section to analyzing the region’s infrastructure performance across sectors, revealing dramatic improvements in quantity and quality of telecommunications contrasted by persistent lags in electricity generation and access.

Overall, the report calls for the urgent implementation of reforms to improve institutions that foster private sector growth, develop local capital markets, improve infrastructure, and strengthen domestic resource mobilization.

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