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Growth in Africa’s non-oil and non-mineral-rich economies is forecast to moderate slightly from 4.7 per cent in 2013 to 4.6 per cent in 2014, mostly driven by strong expansion in services and agriculture in countries such as Ethiopia, reads the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014 report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
The report notes that Africa’s economic growth prospects remain relatively robust and should continue to increase. Growth in the East African region specifically is expected to increase from 6.0 percent in 2013 to 6.4 percent in 2014.
Ethiopia’s GDP growth is anticipated to slow down in 2014 to 6.5 percent when compared to 6.9 percent in 2013. Inflation is expected to go up slightly during the current year to 9.5 percent from 9.1 percent in 2013.
Africa’s growth is heavily driven by commodity production and export. However, economic growth on the continent continues to fail translating to job opportunities.
According to the report, real GDP growth in East Africa will benefit from several positive factors including, increased consumer spending in Kenya, increased consumption and investment in Tanzania’s natural gas sector and increased activity in construction, transport, telecommunications, financial services, exploration and construction in Uganda’s burgeoning oil industry.
Improved growth in agriculture and services spearheaded by the wholesale and retail trade sector’s improving performance in Ethiopia is also boosting the East African economic outlook.
Africa’s total export is foreseen to decline this year to 29.6 percent of GDP from 30.9 percent in 2013. This will occur mainly due to the weakening global commodity markets. On a sub-regional level exports are expected to decline, except in East Africa where exports should slightly increase from 15.5 percent of the GDP in 2013 to 15.7 percent this year.
The increase is said to be attributed to the rise in nontraditional exports such as floriculture and services. This is especially true in the case of Ethiopia, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, the report points out.
Total imports are also to see a slow down across all sub-regions. The largest decline, according to the report, is to occur in South Africa from 29.5 percent of the GDP in 2013 to 27.3 percent in 2014.
Regarding the world economy, it is stated that it has reached only subdued growth of 2.1 percent in 2013.
While most developed economies continued to grapple with the challenge of taking appropriate fiscal and monetary policy actions in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a number of emerging economies, which had already experienced a notable slowdown in the past two years, encountered new domestic and international headwinds during 2013, the report reads.
On the brighter side, the report says the euro area has finally come out of recession with the region’s GDP as a whole starting to grow again.
The economy in the United States is also continuing to recover; and a few large emerging economies, including China, seem to have at least stopped their further slowdown and may see accelerating growth.