Portuguese-speaking countries are “stars” of economic growth in Africa in 2017

Portuguese-speaking countries should be the “stars” of economic growth in 2017 in Africa, a continent that is expected to see a slight recovery, according to the most recent economic forecasts from international institutions.

The “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017,” report released last week by the Analysis and Economic Development Policy Division of the UN Department f Economic and Social Affairs, forecasts that Sao Tome and Principe will record the highest GDP growth among Portuguese-speaking countries – 5.5%, along with Mozambique.

It will be followed by Guinea-Bissau (4%) and Cabo Verde (Cape Verde,) whose economy is expected to grow 3.5%.

The trajectory of acceleration of the Cape Verdean economy is evident in the 2017 Global Economic Outlook, also recently published by the World Bank and growth has been significantly revised upwards for the island economy this year and next.

In 2017, Cabo Verde is expected to grow 3.3% (1.4 percentage points higher than expected in the World Bank’s previous forecast) and 3.5% in 2018 (up 1.3 percentage points).

The World Bank does not publish estimates for Sao Tome and Principe, assessing the Mozambican economy as the most dynamic in the Portuguese-speaking world, growing 5.2% in 2017 and 6.6% in 2018 – although these forecasts reflect a strong downward review (2.5 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points, respectively).

The World Bank has also lowered forecasts for Guinea-Bissau, now at 5.1% in 2017 and the following years.

Forecasts for Angola were also revised downwards, pointing to a slowdown in the economy in the coming years – a growth in GDP of 1.2% in 2017 to 0.9% in 2018 and 2019.

Angola’s economic growth fell from 5.4% in 2014 to 3% in 2015 and 0.4% in 2016, according to World Bank figures.

UN forecasts, to which Macauhub had access, are more favourable for the Angolan economy, pointing to a growth of 1.8% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018.

In 2017, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will be 2.9%, according to the World Bank, and Angola will be the only country in Portuguese-speaking Africa to diverge from its regional peers.

In 2016, regional growth was the lowest of the last two decades, and the regional GDP per regional capital contracted by 1.1% as a result of the strong fall in exports of raw materials, which in Angola resulted in the sharp decline of oil revenues, with effects on both the public and private sectors.

The latest report on Africa from the EY consultancy, entitled “Navigating the current African uncertainties,” stresses that the global economic downturn has put pressure on many African economies, raising “growing doubts about the sustainability of the African growth momentum of the last 15 years.”

The reality, it said, is “that growth slowed substantially in the last year, but at the same time, growth rates will continue in the coming years – in the region as a whole and in many of the key regional economies.”(macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH