World Bank lowers 2016 growth projections for Sub-Saharan Africa

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The World Bank on Monday lowered its 2016 sub-Saharan African growth forecast to 3.3 percent from a previous forecast of 4.4 percent in October, citing plunging global commodity prices.

The bank said the commodity price rout, particularly for oil which fell 67 percent from June 2014 to December 2015, as well as weak global growth were behind the region’s lacklustre performance.

“Overall, growth is projected to pick up in 2017-2018 to 4.5 percent,” the World Bank said in a statement.

It said a projected uptick in economic activity next year would be driven by economic powerhouses South Africa, Nigeria and Angola as commodity prices stabilise.

Nigeria and Angola are the continent’s top two crude oil exporters whose economies have suffered as a result of sharply lower crude prices, while South Africa was also hit by lower platinum, iron ore and coal prices.

“There were some bright spots where growth continued to be robust such as in Cote d’Ivoire, which saw a favourable policy environment and rising investment, as well as oil importers such as Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania,” the World Bank said.

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