The World Bank
The World Bank

By Ruth Olurounbi, in Washington DC

The World Bank has cut the Sub-Saharan Africa 2019 growth forecast by as much as 15 percent, the bank announced ahead of the upcoming 2019 World Economic Outlook expected to be launched Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the ongoing World Bank/IMF Annual Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

The region’s growth, earlier projected to reach 3.4 “predicated on diminished policy uncertainty and improved investment in large economies together with continued robust growth in non-resource intensive countries”, was cut to 2.8 percent by the bank as the region faces continued elevated trade tensions and tightening financing conditions despite moderating international trade and investments.

“The slower-than-expected overall growth reflects ongoing global uncertainty, but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits,” the bank said.

The Nigerian economy, which grew by an estimated 1.9 per cent last year, up from 0.8 percent the previous year, according to the bank, was expected to grow to 2.2 percent this year, “assuming that oil production will recover and a slow improvement in private demand will constrain growth in the non-oil industrial sector.”

However, the bank foresees developing economies stalling at 4.2 percent this year, just as Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, which make up about 60 per cent of the region’s annual economic output, continue to face several challenges including inflation and high debt profile.

“This downward revision reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence,” the bank said.

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