[DEBATE] : 'Africa catching up'
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Wed Nov 14 17:35:06 GMT 2007
'Africa catching up with world'
Nov 14 2007 06:54 PM
Midrand - Growth rates in sub-Saharan African economies are finally
catching up with the rest of the world after lagging behind for the
last three decades, a World Bank report said on Wednesday.
Long periods of decay and stagnation in 1970s, 80s and early 90s have
now been replaced by steady growth which will help the continent in
the battle against poverty, said the report which was released near
"Over the past decade, Africa has recorded an average growth rate of
5.4% which is at par with the rest of the world," said Obiageli
Ezekwesili, World Bank vice-president for Africa.
"The ability to support, sustain and in fact diversify the sources of
these growth indicators would be critical not to Africa's capacity to
meet (UN poverty targets) but also to becoming an exciting investment
destination for global capital."
The continent's overall economic performance was helped in large part
by the rise in revenue from oil exporters such as Equatorial Guinea
which saw Gross Domestic Product grow by 30.8% between 1996 and 2005,
while Angola saw a rise of 8.5% during the same period.
John Page, the bank's chief economist for Africa, said the figures
showed how "for the first time in three decades, they (African
economies) are growing in tandem with the rest of the world".
While resource-rich countries were benefitting from a rise in global
prices, countries that were not blessed with big reserves were also
"Leading the way are the oil and mineral exporters, thanks to high
prices," said Page. "But 18 non-mineral economies, with 36% of
sub-Saharan people, have also been doing well."
Oil exports grew from 16.7% in 2003 to 21.6 in 2004, to 19.2% in 2005
but fell to 13.5% last year, according to the report. Non-oil exports
inched from 4.5% in 2003 to 7.1% last year.
The World Bank report comes a week after a report by its sister
institution, the International Monetary Fund, said that sub-Saharan
Africa was enjoying its strongest economic growth and its lowest
inflation in more than three decades.
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