BIZweek n°276 7 fév 2020
BIZweek n°276 7 fév 2020
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  • Parution : n°276 de 7 fév 2020

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  • Editeur : Capital Publications Ltd

  • Format : (260 x 370) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 6

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VENDREDI 07 FÉVRIER 2020 BIZWEEK ÉDITION 276 AFRICAN ECONOMIC OUTLOOK 2020 Africa’s economy to grow despite external shocks Africa’s economic growth remained stable in 2019 at 3.4 percent and is on course to pickup to 3.9 percent in 2020 and 4.1 percent in 2021, the African Development Bank’s 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) revealed on Thursday 30 January. The slower than expected growth is partly due to the moderate expansion of the continent’s «big five» — Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa – whose joint growth was an average rate of 3.1 percent, compared with the average of 4.0 percent for the rest of the continent. The Bank’s flagship publication, published annually since 2003, provides headline numbers on Africa’s economic performance and outlook. The 2020 edition, launched at the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters, was attended by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, African ministers, diplomats, researchers, and representatives of various international bodies. In 2019, for the first time in a decade, investment expenditure, rather than consumption, accounted for over 50% of GDP growth. This shift can help sustain and potentially accelerate future growth in Africa, increase the continent’s current and future productive base, while improving productivity of the workforce. Overall, the forecast described the continent’s growth fundamentals as improved, driven by a gradual shift toward investments and Real GDP growth was moderate yet steady, averaging 3.8% during 2015–19. Growth was mainly driven by financial services, retail and wholesale trade, and information and communications technology. GDP per capita trendedupward, reaching an estimated $10,200 in 2019 — the third highest in Africa after Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles. The economy is largely service-based (76% of GDP in 2019), followed by industry (21%) and agriculture (3%). Aggregate demand has been underpinned by strong growth in household consumption, while investment stood at 19% of GDP in 2019. The accommodative monetary policy of the Bank of Mauritius has been widely considered appropriate in view of recent low inflation. Fiscal policy was expansionary over 2015–19 : government spending is dominated by recurrent spending, but the public wage bill is increasing, and a more generous universal pension scheme has been introduced. Spending has been offset by a rise in revenues, driven by strong tax collection. The budget deficit, 3.2% of GDP in 2019, is funded predominantly from domestic debt issues and ongoing disbursement of a $500 million grant from India in 2016. Fiscal consolidation is required through increasing domestic resource mobilization and the sale of government assets. The current account deficit, estimated at 6.3% of GDP in 2019, is projected to narrow to 5.6% of GDP in 2020 and 5.2% in 2021, due ACTA PUBLICA Themed‘Developing Africa’s workforce for the future’, the 2020 African Economic Outlook calls for swift action to address human capital development in African countries, where the quantity and quality of human capital are much lower than in other regions of the world. The report also noted the urgent need for capacity building and offers several policy recommendations, which include that states invest more in education and infrastructure to reap the highest returns in long-termGDP growth. Developing a demand-driven productive workforce to meet industry needs, is another essential requirement net exports, and away from private consumption. Continent’s fastest-growing region : East Africa East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region, with average growth estimated at 5.0 percent in 2019 ; largely to improved export and tourism earnings. The current account deficit will continue to be covered by investment income from offshore companies and foreign direct investment. Youth unemployment is 22.5%, and national unemployment is 6.9%. The rapid shift from labor-intensive sectors to emerging high value-added sectors requires higher skills. Inequality has recently been on the rise. Tailwinds and headwinds Key sectoral drivers of growth are expected to continue performing well. Real GDP growth is projected to be 3.9% in 2020 and 4.0% in 2021, due to increased tourism, steady investment growth, and external demand from regional and global growth. Tourist arrivals are projected to exceed 1.2 million a year, with more coming from nontraditional markets in Asia and Africa. The economy is expected to diversify further into higher value-added sectors such as agroprocessing, medical tourism, higher education services, and development of the ocean economy. Ocean economy activities such as leisure, energy, aquaculture, and port logistics could add 1.5–2 percentage points to GDP. The effort to increase efficiency and productivity in public services could include digitizing the economy, as in fintech and artificial intelligence. A favorable business environment and business-friendly North Africa was the second fastest, at 4.1 percent, while West Africa’s growth rose to 3.7 percent in 2019,up from 3.4 percent the year before. Central Africa grew at 3.2 percent in 2019,up from 2.7 percent in 2018, while Southern Africa’s growth slowed considerably over the same period, from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, dragged down by Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook for Mauritius the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth. Urgent call to address Africa’s education, skills mismatch The 2020 AEO, themedDeveloping Africa’s workforce for the future, calls for swift action to address human capital development in African countries, where the quantity and quality of human capital is much lower than in other regions of the world. «Africa needs to build skills in information and communication technology and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will place increasing demands on educational systems that are producing graduates versed in these skills,» the report noted. To keep the current level of unemployment constant, Africa needs to create 12 million jobs every year, according to the report. With rapid technological change expected to disrupt labour markets further, it is urgent that countries address fundamental bottlenecks to creating human capital, the report said. regulations such as the revised Business Facilitation Act are expected to boost foreign direct investment inflows, and improved global economic demand should increase the export of goods and services. Government efforts to reorient Mauritius as a gateway between Asia and Africa for trade and investment and to further diversify export markets will consolidate the country’s position as a logistics and services hub for Africa and boost the wider economy. Global energy and food price increases are expected to diminish the island economy’s current account balance and add to inflation, projected at 3.5% in 2020 and 2021. Public debt remains high at 63% of GDP, and a statutory target of 60% of GDP by 2021 will limit the fiscal space for investing in infrastructure and human capital. Although the financial sector is among the most robust and best regulated in Africa, it caters mostly to large corporations. Smalland mediumenterprises continue to find access to finance a challenge. Other risks to growth potential include skill constraints, environmental degradation, a rapidly aging population, and widening income inequality. Efforts to speed much needed public investments and improve public service delivery could falter due to institutional and regulatory constraints. Private investment in strategic infrastructure subsectors such as water, transport, and energy is expected to remain low given the lack of significant regulatory reforms. 3

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