Economic growth picked up moderately in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014, to 4.5 percent, compared with 4.2 percent in 2013, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the World Bank.According to the Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, in South Africa, growth slowed markedly, constrained by strikes in the mining sector, electricity shortages, and low investor confidence.
Angola was set back by a decline in oil production and the Ebola outbreak severely disrupted economic activity in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
In contrast, in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy, activity expanded at a robust pace, supported by a buoyant non-oil sector.
Growth was also strong in many of the region’s low-income countries. Excluding South Africa, the average growth for the rest of the region was 5.6 percent. However, extreme poverty remains high across the region, said a World Bank statement issued in Nairobi on Wednesday.
According to the report, investment in public infrastructure, increased agriculture production, and buoyant services were key drivers of growth.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows, an important source of financing of fixed capital formation in the region, declined in 2014, reflecting slower growth in emerging markets and soft commodity prices, added the report.
The report noted that several frontier market countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Senegal, were able to tap international bond markets to finance infrastructure projects.
The fiscal deficit for the region narrowed as several countries took measures in 2014 to control expenditures, added the report.