Africa Seeks to Rev Growth Engines amid Downturn

  • F&D magazine examines Africa’s growth story
  • Region faces slowdown but growth varies widely by country
  • Commodity prices are just one factor in the region’s recent performance
  • After 10 years of unprecedented growth, which helped fuel a positive Africa Rising narrative, the outlook for sub-Saharan Africa is dimming. The region suffered a sharp slowdown, owing to slumping commodity prices and softer global economic conditions. Natural resource producers such as Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, and Mozambique have been hard hit. Drought has struck in some countries. And China—now a major trade and business partner in a number of African countries—is slowing as it retools its economy, sparking fears of further weakening.

    More than commodities

    Georgetown University professor Steven Radelet writes in F&D's cover story about the changes that leave Africa better positioned to handle the downturn in the region. Marked improvements in governance, the emergence of more adroit leaders and economic managers, and better economic and social policies are a solid foundation for future growth. Although growth is likely to slow in the next few years, he says, the long-term outlook is solid for countries that diversify their economies, increase competitiveness, and further strengthen their institutions of governance.

    Antoinette Sayeh, head of the IMF’s African Department, sounds a similar note in her Straight Talk column, arguing that the underlying drivers of growth over the past decade still persist and that a reset of monetary and fiscal policies can help reignite sustainable growth in the region.

    New growth opportunities

    Other articles in the Africa cover package look at sources of future growth. Former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Njuguna...

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