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Ethiopia is projected to be among the fastest growing countries, underpinned by strong public investment in agriculture and infrastructure, says the 2014 Global Economic Prospect (GEP) report by the World Bank. Ethiopia’s GDP growth is forecasted at 7.0 and 6.6 percent in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
According to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP grew 4.7 percent in 2013, led by robust domestic demand, and is set to continue to rise. Despite emerging challenges, the medium-term outlook remains positive.
Supported by investment in the resource sector, public infrastructure, and agriculture, GDP growth is projected to remain stable at 4.7 percent in 2014 and to rise to 5.1 percent in 2015 and 2016. The outlook is sensitive to downside risks from lower commodity prices, tightening global financial conditions, and political instability.
Recent developments in the region include the widening of fiscal and current account deficits, the report says.
“Ambitious public investment programs, large increases in public wages, and rising transfers and subsidies, coupled with weak revenues, as a result of weak commodity prices, have contributed to the deterioration of fiscal balances in many countries,” it reads.
Despite the challenges that are emerging, the report suggests that the strengthening recovery in high-income countries promises well for export demand and investment flows, although weaker commodity prices and slower growth in emerging markets will moderate growth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to the region to USD 32.5 billion in 2014, from USD 31.9 billion in 2013. “Nevertheless, this would support growth in many countries.”
It also states that at the sub-regional level, growth is expected to be strong in East Africa, increasingly supported by (FDI) flows into offshore natural gas resources in Tanzania, the onset of oil production in Uganda and Kenya, and agriculture in Ethiopia.
On the other hand, the report also points out some risks. The list includes; increased capital market volatility accompanying the tightening of global monetary conditions; and domestic risks from political tensions in the run-up to elections in Nigeria, security problems linked to conflicts in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and higher inflation from extreme currency weaknesses and rising food prices.