A gradual recovery in some commodity prices and continued reform efforts are part of the new Africa narrative, but risks remain.
While the past quarter saw Tunisia impress once again by holding peaceful elections, the region was still somewhat unsettled. Regional growth for 2019 was revised marginally higher due to slight changes in the countries' respective weightings, though the outlook for the region's biggest economies remains roughly unchanged. In terms of the Southern Africa region, the stage is set for an underwhelming start to the new decade, as climate-driven disruptions to power generation and external pressures weigh. Turning to Central & West Africa, we have revised our regional growth forecast lower to 2.9% for 2019 and 3.0% for 2020. This mainly stems from weaker growth prospects in the regional giant Nigeria, where the economy is seen expanding by a still-meagre 2.3% next year as the non-oil economy struggles for much traction and oil base effects increasingly come into play. The franc zone's regional growth has been revised lower to 4.5% in 2019 and 2020 due to easing growth in the region's largest economies, but the outlook remains positive. Finally, the East African regional economic picture now clearly shows a steady deceleration in growth following a few years of remarkable expansion. (Source: Africa Quarterly Update December 2019.)