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East Africa records highest GDP of 5.7% in 2018–AfDB

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says economic growth in East Africa has recorded the highest GDP among other regions on the continent.

The statement released by the Development Bank on Friday indicated that the East Africa’s economic performance in 2018 was at 5.7 per cent GDP, while the overall outlook for the rest of Africa was cautious, but positive.

According to the bank, job creation and ramping up manufacturing will continue to be major priority areas for creating growth and employment across the continent.

The bank inaugurated four of its five regional economic outlook reports this week in Abuja, Yaounde, Nairobi and Pretoria, with specific forecasts for West, Central, East and South Africa.

The reports follow the January inauguration of the 2019 African Economic Outlook, which provides a broader, continent-wide perspective.

“East Africa is leading the continent with GDP growth estimated at 5.7 per cent in 2018, followed by North Africa at 4.9 per cent, West Africa at 3.3 per cent, Central Africa at 2.2 per cent, and Southern Africa at 1.2 per cent.

“Economic growth across Eastern Africa will remain at a robust 5.9 percent in 2019, making it a promising investment and manufacturing destination.

“Within the region, Ethiopia is in the lead as the fastest growing economy with a predicted 8.2 per cent growth in 2019, while Rwanda 7.8 per cent, Tanzania 6.6 per cent, Kenya six per cent, Djibouti 5.9 per cent and Uganda 5.3 per cent” AfDB stated.

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The bank added that growth in Central Africa was gradually recovering, but remained below the average for Africa as a whole.

“It is supported by recovering commodity prices and higher agricultural output and the region is one of the continent’s least integrated, with potential for reforms and greater linkages.

“The West Africa Regional Economic Outlook shows that the region needs to explore innovative means of raising revenue through reforms that enhance tax collection, minimize tax evasion, and curb illicit financial flows.

“Between 2014 and 2017, West Africa’s GDP growth trailed the rate for Africa as a whole, though it was faster than in Central and Southern Africa.

“Countries bucking the downward trend, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal, continue to offer positive examples of economic recovery in a sober economic environment.

“Growth in Southern Africa is expected to remain moderate in 2019 and 2020 after a modest recovery in 2017 and 2018.

“Southern Africa’s subdued growth is due mainly to economic stagnation in South Africa, the largest regional economy, which has a ripple effect on neighboring countries” it added.

AfDB said all the regions faced similar risks to their economic prospects in 2019 and 2020, including rising debt, fragility, population growth and climate change. (NAN)