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UPDATE 1-Sub-Saharan Africa to grow at a slower rate this year, World Bank says
October 11, 2017 / 12:59 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Sub-Saharan Africa to grow at a slower rate this year, World Bank says

(Adds details, quotes)

By Paul Carsten

ABUJA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be 2.4 percent in 2017, the World Bank said on Wednesday, down from the 2.6 percent projected in April.

It said the downgrade was due to a number of reasons, including Nigeria’s failing to meet expectations but also broader conditions.

“Regional per capita output growth is forecast to be negative for the second consecutive year, while investment growth remains low, and productivity growth is falling,” it said.

Growth across the region, however, was seen rising 3.2 percent in 2018 and 3.5 percent in 2019, forecasts unchanged from earlier this year.

In its latest Africa Pulse report, the Bank said the region would be helped by better commodity prices. Sub-Saharan African economies have been hit by lower commodity prices which slowed growth in the last few years, cutting government revenues.

Albert Zeufack, World Bank chief economist for Africa, said the region’s growth recovery would partly be driven by the continent’s two largest economies - Nigeria and South Africa - exiting recession.

He said the two countries need “deeper reforms” to get back to pre-2014 levels of growth and their political uncertainty needs to be reined in. He said they make up about half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP growth.

The World Bank said Nigeria’s economy, the largest in the continent, was expected to expand by 1 percent in 2017.

South Africa’s economy, hit by political worries, was expected to grow just 0.6 percent this year. (Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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