Speaking to journalists immediately after the release of the April 2019 issue of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies yesterday in Accra, he said: “Over the past few years, conditions have improved, inflation has come down, and fiscal deficit has gone down significantly from 7.4 percent in 2016 to 3.9 percent in 2018… Basically, all the target improvements that were set for Ghana have now more or less been achieved.”
He also lauded government for committing itself not to overspend in view of its recent exit from the IMF’s extended credit facility programme.
According to him, the World Bank projected a 7.6 percent growth for Ghana, this year, which was slightly higher than government’s target of 7.2 percent, adding that oil production and the non-oil sector were expected to pick up this year to help achieve the growth target.
Africa’s Pulse findings
The report downgraded growth in Sub-Saharan Africa to 2.3 percent for 2018, down from 2.5 percent in 2017.
It further stated that economic growth remained below population growth for the fourth consecutive year, adding that although regional growth was expected to rebound to 2.8 percent in 2019, it would have remained below three percent since 2015.
It further considered how fragility was holding back Sub-Saharan Africa and how the digital economy could help the continent move forward.
“The digital transformation can increase growth by nearly two percentage points per year and reduce poverty by nearly one percentage point per year in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. This is a game-changer for Africa,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa.
It said the slower-than-expected overall growth reflected ongoing global uncertainty, but which increasingly emanated from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits; political and regulatory uncertainty and fragility that are having visible negative impacts on some African economies.
“In Nigeria, growth reached 1.9 percent in 2018, up from 0.8 percent in 2017, reflecting a modest pick-up in the non-oil economy. South Africa came out of recession in the third quarter of 2018, but growth was subdued at 0.8 percent over the year, as policy uncertainty held back investment. Angola, the region’s third-largest economy, remained in recession, with growth falling sharply as oil production stayed weak.
“Growth picked up in some resource-intensive-countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger, as stronger mining production and commodity prices boosted activity alongside a rebound in agricultural production and public investment in infrastructure. In others, like Liberia and Zambia, growth was subdued, as high inflation and elevated debt levels continued to weigh on investor sentiment.”