Not only does Donald Trump’s insults to African countries reflect his racism, but also smacks of his own ignorance. I am sorry to note that many Americans display such ignorance. I was not educated in the American school system, and have witnessed the education my two daughters are receiving compared to my own school experience in South Africa, where we were taught Geography as a compulsory subject in our early elementary years, through high school. I have not seen it offered to my children here in the U.S.A., other than small bits and pieces looped into other subjects, and not even as an elective. In my early years, I learned about cities, countries, continents, regions, oceans, mountain ranges, ecology, agriculture, economies, people, histories etc.
That said – I am contemplating writing a series on this BLOG entitled, “Learning about the SHITHOLES.”
Nonetheless lets start with this bit of information from the Editor at QUARTZ:
On the face of it, 2018 is going to be a good year for sub Saharan Africa’s economies. The World Bank forecasts growth of 3.2% for the year, up from 2.4% in 2017. It also predicts slightly higher growth for 2019 of 3.5%.
As usual much of that growth will still rely on improving commodity prices and executing economic reforms. But it’s all rather delicately balanced. World Bank thinks a drop in commodity prices, higher-than-expected global interest rate rises and the ongoing debt mismanagement by some countries could set the region back.
Ultimately, as Brookings points out (pdf) in its Foresight Africa 2018 report, half of sub Saharan Africa’s economies will grow at a rate similar to or higher than during the heyday of the “Africa rising” narrative, which was in the run-up to the commodity price crash of 2014.
The region’s growth is higher, at 5%, if you exclude the big three economies of Nigeria, Angola and South Africa. The first two, as the continent’s largest oil producers, should see accelerated expansion as oil prices recover this year. Brent crude hit a high of $70 this past week. That’s good news for president Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid in Nigeria and the reform agenda of Angola’s still new president Lourenço—after 38 years of president dos Santos. The World Bank says South Africa will expand by 1.1% compared with 0.8% last year while Nigeria should grow by 2.5% from 1% in 2017. Angola will expand by 1.6%.
But the big economies have to get their act together says Brahima Coulibaly, director of Brookings’ Africa Growth Initiative: “These large economies are at risk of a lost decade unless policymakers implement significant reforms to shift the growth model away from excessive reliance on oil in Angola and Nigeria and, in the case of South Africa, to overcome structural problems—many inherited from the apartheid era.”
It makes sense. Most of 2018’s top performers are non-commodity intensive economies. The list is led by Ghana (8.3%), which we should point out is boosted by oil & gas expansion, Ethiopia (8.2%), Côte d’Ivoire (7.2%), Djibouti (7%), Senegal (6.9%) and Tanzania (6.8%).
But both World Bank and Brookings warn that many of the region’s economies—regardless of size or growth rate—need to pay more attention to debt management in 2018. IMF chief Christine Lagarde made this perfectly clear in her interview with us last month. Public debt is approaching critical levels in some countries in the region, says Brookings. Debt was at 56% of GDP on average in 2017 versus 40% in 2013.
— Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa editor