A gradual recovery in some commodity prices and continued reform efforts are part of the new Africa narrative, but risks remain.
While the conflict in Libya intensified significantly in the past quarter, the rest of the North African region calmed somewhat. Tunisia formed a new government, Algeria’s new president found his feet, and Sudanese international relations slowly improved. Escalating global risks, however, paint a bleaker picture for regional growth this year. In Southern Africa, economic growth in South Africa and Angola is expected to be painfully slow. In West Africa, Nigeria’s land-border closure is hurting neighbouring economies. Turning to the franc zone, despite a broad-based growth slowdown in the region in 2019, the outlook remains positive. Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal remain standout performers. In East Africa, a severe and widespread locust infestation holds considerable downside risk to the regional economy. But government efforts and increasing diversification mean economic growth is expected to remain healthy going forward. This report is published against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty in global markets, with the oil price plunging to multi-year lows in early-March. (Source: Africa Quarterly Update March 2020.)