Africa Writhing: 5 African Economies That Are Beating The Odds

By Dana Sanchez Published: August 9, 2016, 1:03 pm
Importing power from South Africa will boost DR Congo's copper production.Importing power from South Africa will boost DR Congo's copper production. Photo:

African oil producers are suffering from the resource curse, with the economies of some top oil revenue-dependent countries — Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Angola — struggling to show positive GDP growth, a much-needed indicator for foreign investment.

While many African countries struggle to cope with falling commodities revenues, experts also see bright spots on the continent. Previously high-flying commodity exporters such as Angola have been hard hit, but other countries are showing resilience, according to a New York Times report.

“The ‘Africa rising’ narrative wasn’t true, but neither is the diametrically opposed argument that Africa is no longer rising,” said Simon Freemantle, a senior political economist at Standard Bank. “The truth is obviously in between.”

The following are not the largest or most developed countries in Africa. Some are plagued with corruption, low per capita gross domestic product, income inequality, political instability.

Here’s a look at Africa’s fastest growing economies from Med Africa Times.

Tanzania: East Africa’s ‘Sleeping Giant’

The Tanzanian economy, East Africa’s second-largest, grew 7 percent in 2015, supported by stable power supply, high growth of credit to the private sector and moderate oil prices.

It’s expected to maintain strong growth of 7.3 percent in 2016, according to the central bank.

The country is building road networks and experiencing increased residential and non-residential real estate development.

President John Magufuli is determined to shake things up, in his first few months in office clearing the civil service of thousands of ghost workers. He began a campaign against tax evasion by foreign companies and local entrepreneurs.

The government said it plans in the 2016-2017 fiscal year to increase spending by 31 percent to $13.51 billion to finance infrastructure and industrial projects.

It also told Tanzanians that it is on course to provide all villages with power.

Agriculture and tourism employ about 75 percent of the country’s workforce, accounting for 25 percent of the national economy but these sectors remain virtually stagnant through lack of exploration and support.

Rwanda: model of good governance

Twenty years after genocide, Rwanda’s economy has seen poverty fall under Paul Kagame’s leadership, considered a model of good governance in the world.

Strong economic growth and improved living standards have resulted in near-universal primary school enrollment and a drop in child mortality, the World Bank said.

Rwanda is a top reformer in improving the business environment and has one of the continent’s most competitive economies.

One of the fastest growing economies in Central Africa, Rwanda reported GDP growth of around 7.5 percent per year between 2001 and 2015.

It has developed an economy driven by private initiatives, respect for sustainability, urban development focused on cleanliness, green spaces, and quality road networks, and low greenhouse gas emissions.

Long-term goals include transforming the country from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with a middle-income status by 2020.

Extreme poverty remains a reality for more than 60 percent of the population.

DRC: Copper production up fourfold since 2007

A new era of growth and prosperity is making the Democratic Republic of Congo one of Africa’s economic superpowers following years of conflict.

In the past three years, the country has seen double-digit growth and attracted the attention of international eager to profit.

The Central African nation’s economy is expected to expand 9 percent between 2016 and 2018, one of the fastest growth rates in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Copper, gold and other mineral mining are the main drivers of growth, with low inflation and expansion in the services sector expected.

The copper-rich country extracted more than 1 million tons of copper for the first time in 2014 and is vying with Zambia to be Africa’s top producer.

Inga III, a new hydropower facility that the government is planning to build, could shape Africa in the 21st century. It is one of DRC’s strategic pillars toward emerging status; the country needs the energy to liberate its economy and reduce poverty.

Peaceful elections in 2016 could unlock further investment in the country.

Côte d’Ivoire: fastest-growing economy in Africa

Côte d’Ivoire has seen a economic revival since a decade-long crisis ending in 2011.

The world’s No. 1 cocoa grower was helped by the development of infrastructure projects, which have lured investors after years of political paralysis.

President Alassane Ouattara, an economist who has led the country’s recovery since 2011, said he had got more than $15 billion in pledges from lenders and donors — almost twice the amount the government sought — to fund the five-year development plan.

The West African country’s GDP is expected to grow by 8.5 percent this year according to the IMF.

Government policies and structural reforms have resulted in strong inclusive growth, according to the World Bank.

The government reduced the amount it costs to start a business by more than 70 percent and streamlined the process of applying for public tenders.

Côte d’Ivoire is Africa’s fastest growing economy, according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook.

Ethiopia: 10% economic growth despite drought

While many African countries struggle to cope with falling oil prices and falling revenue from commodities, Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country after Nigeria, saw economic growth of 10.8 percent between 2011 and 2015 and is set to expand 10 percent in 2016, according to governmental forecasts.

Much of its success is due to economic diversity and the dominance of the state in the economy. Ethiopia exports very little compared to other African countries. It’s currency, the birr, has retained value despite the global downturn.

The government is building power lines, industrial parks and sugar factories.

Agriculture accounted for 39 percent of GDP in 2015, but the current drought, the worst in 50 years, left almost 20 percent of Ethiopians needing food aid and 400,000 people facing severe malnutrition.

Agricultural growth in 2016 will be less than the projected 11 percent after the El Nino caused drought across eastern part of the country, according to Finance Ministry data, Med Africa Times reported.

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