World Bank’s semiannual Africa’s Pulse report on the African economy projects 4.8 percent growth during 2012 for Sub-Saharan Africa, consistent with last year’s 4.9 percent growth rate. The positive analysis comes in lieu of poor performance in the global economy. Without accounting for South Africa, the continent’s most lucrative economy, the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by 6 percent, bucking the trend of disappointing reports in the first quarter of 2012.
“A third of African countries will grow at or above 6 percent with some of the fastest growing ones buoyed by new mineral exports such as iron ore in Sierra Leone and uranium and oil in Niger, and by factors such as the return to peace in Cote d’Ivoire, as well as strong growth in countries such as Ethiopia,” World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Makhtar Diop told allAfrica. “An important indicator of how Africa is on the move is that investor interest in the region remains strong, with $31 billion in foreign direct investment flows expected this year, despite difficult global conditions.”
World Bank officials went on to warn the countries that the struggling global economy could still be hazardous for African. Countries with rich mineral and oil resources will need to capitalize on their growth in order to boost infrastructure and long term stability in the Sub-Saharan region. Even if a country is doing well financially, they must take action to ensure that the wealth is spread evenly throughout the state.
“Resource-rich African countries have to make the conscious choice to invest in better health, education, and jobs, and less poverty for their people because it will not happen automatically when countries strike it rich,” Shantayanan Devarajan, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, and lead author of Africa’s Pulse said.
“Gabon, for example, with a per-capita income of $10,000 has one of the lowest child immunization rates in Africa,” he added.
A decade of consistent growth has benefitted Africa, but it will be important for growing countries to manage their growth and become less reliant on struggling global markets, specifically in the Eurozone. With a bevy of natural resources available, Africa will continue to grow into a global economic power.