2012 IMF Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa

May 21, 2012

Using diesel generators like this one in Nigeria takes time. Photo by P Jotter

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa published in 2012 is now available. It offered the following conclusions:

-Despite difficult external conditions, output in Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 5 percent in 2011. Most countries shared in this expansion. Exceptions included South Africa, slowed by weakness in major European trading partners, and countries in West Africa affected by drought in the Sahel and civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire.

-For 2012, the baseline projection is for much of the region’s output momentum to be maintained. New resource production in several countries and recovery in West Africa will help nudge output growth up to 5.5 percent.

-The outlook is subject to substantial downside risks because of global uncertainties. Renewed financial stresses in the Euro area would reduce the pace of growth in Sub-Saharan Africa in both 2012 and 2013.

-Most Sub-Saharan African banking systems have proved resilient to recent episodes of global financial stress.

-The rapid spread of pan-African banking groups in the last few years may in some cases have outpaced supervisory capacity.

-Natural resources are an important contributor to merchandise exports in nearly half of the 45 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the share of resource exports that accrue to national budgets varies widely across countries, with oil producers being the most successful in terms of revenue extraction.

-Countries that obtain considerable fiscal revenue from natural resources have experienced significantly higher volatility in exports, revenue, and nonresource GDP growth than other Sub-Saharan African economies.

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