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This chapter looks at macroeconomic conditions in the different regions and countries of Africa, as well as in the continent as a whole. It highlights how weaker oil and commodity prices, uncertain global conditions and domestic political uncertainties are affecting many African economies and explores how their governments are responding to these challenges. It examines Africa’s recent economic growth and prospects for 2016 and 2017 and important driving forces on the demand and the supply side, as well as headwinds from adverse developments in terms of trade, which also affect fiscal positions and current accounts.
Despite falling commodity prices, Africa’s external financial flows have remained stable overall. This chapter analyses trends in those flows; from foreign direct investment and portfolio equity which fell, to remittances and official development assistance which are increasing. It also studies Africa’s tax revenue collection that has dropped because of lower resource revenues. The chapter looks at the policy challenges and opportunities related to attracting financial inflows ranging from the need to stabilise foreign inflows and implementing medium- to long-term structural policies as part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 to step up the continent’s development.
Accelerated growth in Africa since 2000 has increased the opportunities for enhanced trade while the continent is also looking to step up integration between its regions to further boost growth and job creation. This chapter looks at developments in trade, investment flows, integration and income convergence between regions and countries. It suggests ways for policy makers to spur growth and seize trade opportunities so that the income gap can narrow more speedily. The financial sector, infrastructure and new, bigger free trade areas are all analysed to see how they can help the effort.
This chapter reviews Africa’s progress from a human development perspective and provides projections building on current trends. A sub-regional approach is employed to examine the expansion of people’s capabilities in relation to living standards, healthy lives and increasing knowledge. The chapter also explores the negative impact of inequality – including gender inequality – on all levels of human development. Human progress in expanding cities and settlements is considered in the context of the global 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063. The chapter concludes with a range of best practices from country experiences in promoting human progress through more equitable and sustainable human settlements.
This chapter assesses the governance trends affecting Africa’s economic outlook by examining the most recent metrics on the functioning of African public institutions. It looks at how the quality of public service delivery and the performance of institutions meet citizens’ expectations. It also lays out the improvements citizens are asking for and how governments are responding. Finally, the chapter outlines the prospects for 2016. Key findings are presented first, and details of how these findings were arrived at are provided in subsequent sections.

This 15th edition of the African Economic Outlook looks closely at Africa’s distinctive pathways towards urbanisation and at how this is increasingly shifting economic resources towards more productive activities.

Press release

Africa: economic transformation hinges on unlocking potential of cities, says the African Economic Outlook 2016

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