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Expansion of Africa’s ‘Big 5’ to drive Africa’s economic outlook 2020—AfDB

“For the first time in a decade, investment expenditure rather than consumption accounts for more than half of GDP growth; report calls for urgent investment in education and infrastructure for good returns in long-term GDP; “Youth unemployment must be given top priority. With 12 million graduates entering the labour market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, the mountain of youth unemployment is rising annually.” – These were the submissions of the President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.

The AfDB’s 2020 African Economic Outlook released Thursday suggests that Africa’s economic growth remained stable in 2019 at 3.4 percent and is on course to pick up to 3.9 percent in 2020 and 4.1 percent in 2021.

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.

Referring to Africa’s fastest-growing economies, Sirleaf said, “There are stars among us…and we want to applaud them. We want to see more, particularly for countries like mine, which have been left behind, so that more can be done to give them the support that they need.”

Overall, the forecast described the continent’s growth fundamentals as improved, driven by a gradual shift toward investments and net exports, and away from private consumption.

The report said East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region, with average growth estimated at 5.0 percent in 2019; 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.

Also, 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 the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth.

However, the outlook called for urgent need to address Africa’s education, skills mismatch

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