Africa’s Rapid Economic Growth Makes it Second Fastest Growing Continent in the World Behind Asia

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Despite global economic headwinds, Africa’s success story continues. The continent once labelled hopeless and backward just a few years ago, is now considered the world Cinderella after many countries changed course in the past two decades and achieved significant growth, reductions in poverty and improvements in social services.

The economic growth rate of the continent in the last few years has been significantly higher than the global economic average. In 2015, for example, Africa’s economic rate of growth was expected to be 3.1 per cent as compared to a global average of 2.6 per cent although it slowed due to multiple shocks including sharp decline in commodity prices, tighter financing conditions, economic slowdown in China and severe drought in southern and eastern Africa.

However, despite the global headwinds, Africa’s economy is still strong, with African Development Bank (AfDB) in its latest economic outlook for the continent, forecast economic growth rate of 3.7 per cent, which is expected to be the second fastest growing continent in the world behind Asia whose growth is projected to reach 6.3 per cent.

According to AfDB, the global economy is forecast to grow by 3.2 per cent as compared to 1.9 per cent for the United States, 1.5 per cent for the Eurozone and 0.5 per cent for Japan. In addition, Africa has about six of the fastest growing economies in the world, with economic growth rates all above 6.5 per cent.

These include Ethiopia (10 per cent), Cote d’Ivoire (8.9 per cent), the DRC (7.7 per cent), Tanzania (7.0 per cent), Rwanda (6.9 per cent) and Kenya (6.0 per cent). Africa’s rapid growth is raising strong optimism that the strong growth may be setting a stage for transformation into an economic success and a model for other regions of the world.

The Economist, for instance, had predicted way back in 2011 that Africa has a real chance to follow in the footsteps of Asia which has been home to the world’s fastest growing economies for the last four decades.

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