By Julius Businge
The World Bank has said economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to reach more than 5% on average in 2013-2015 as a result of high commodity prices worldwide and strong consumer spending on the continent.
The Bank said in its latest Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future that about a quarter of African countries grew at 7% or higher in 2012 and a number of them, notably Sierra Leone, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Rwanda are among the fastest growing in the world.
The Bank said the forecast growth will be supported by a gradually improving world economy, consistently high commodity prices, and more investment in regional infrastructure, trade and business growth.
The Bank’s Vice President Makhtar Diop called on the need for faster progress in areas such as electricity and food in the vulnerable areas of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and that significantly more energy and agricultural productivity were needed to raise the quality of life for Africans throughout the continent and reduce poverty significantly.
The Bank urges the mineral-rich countries to spend the revenue from the sector on productive ventures like infrastructure, education, health so as to boost economic growth n these countries.
The bank also urges African governments to invest heavily in the agriculture sector since the continent has a comparative advantage over other continents in the sector.
“This will promote financial inclusion and boost economic growth,” said Shanta Devarajan, the Bank’s chief economist for Africa and lead author of the new report.