Global prospects show slow growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The World Bank Group’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) says developing countries should see an improvement in growth this year.

This growth is enhanced by factors including soft oil prices, a stronger US economy, continued low global interest rates and receding domestic headwinds in several large emerging markets.

The report showed that growth picked up in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 by only 4.5 per cent, reflecting a slowdown in many of the region’s large economies, notably South Africa.

“Growth is expected to remain flat in 2015 at 4.6 per cent (lower than previously expected), largely due to softer commodity prices, and rise gradually to 5.1 per cent by 2017, supported by infrastructure investment, increased agriculture production, and buoyant services.”

(READ MORE: World Bank pledges $1.2 billion to East Africa)

Looking ahead in 2015, the region is victim to risks such as the Ebola epidemic, violence, lower commodity price and the volatile global financial environment.

“Policy priorities include a need for budget restraint for some countries in the region and a shift of spending to increasingly productive ends, as infrastructure constraints are acute. Project selection and management could be improved with greater transparency and accountability in the use of public resources,” the report said.

(READ MORE: What is in store for the South African economy in 2015?)

The global economy is projected to expand by 3 per cent this year, 3.3 per cent in 2016 and 3.2 per cent in 2017. Developing countries grew by 4.4 per cent in 2014 and are expected to edge up to 4.8 per cent in 2015, strengthening to 5.3 and 5.4 per cent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“In this uncertain economic environment, developing countries need to judiciously deploy their resources to support social programs with a laser-like focus on the poor and undertake structural reforms that invest in people,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

(READ MORE: Sub-Saharan Africa resilient to lower oil prices)

“It’s also critical for countries to remove any unnecessary roadblocks for private sector investment. The private sector is by far the greatest source of jobs and that can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”