Major African Economies Seen Growing Faster, but Ghana Is Forecast to Lag

Cape Times (South Africa), August 29, 2014 | Go to article overview

Major African Economies Seen Growing Faster, but Ghana Is Forecast to Lag


BYLINE: Vuyani Ndaba

ECONOMIC growth in Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia will accelerate over the next two years while Ghana's economy is likely to struggle in the short term as its government is forced to rein in spending, according to a Reuters poll released yesterday.

While the Ebola outbreak in west Africa remains a serious concern, it does not pose a serious risk to the rest of Africa for now because its spread so far has been limited, economists say.

The poll, taken over the past week, contrasts with a stark warning from the African Development Bank that Ebola is causing enormous damage to west African economies as foreign businessmen quit the region.

But so far, there has been no outbreak in Kenya, Zambia or Ghana, and the cases in Nigeria have been few and contained.

"The only way it would impact countries like Nigeria is if trade routes and ports were restricted, and so far that does not look like it is happening. As far as we know, there has not been a large multinational withdrawing staff," Alan Cameron, a London-based economist at Nigerian stock brokerage CSL, said.

"So far it looks like it has been reasonably contained, at least in Nigeria, so I think the impact for now is fairly minimal."

Nigeria and other fast-growing African economies are set to outperform global growth, as well as other emerging markets like Brazil, and even South Africa.

"For Nigeria, the numbers show oil production increasing in the first half of this year, which is going to provide a boost to overall growth," Shilan Shah at Capital Economics said.

Nigeria's economy is forecast to grow by 6.5 percent both this year and next, faster than its 5.5 percent expansion last year after a rebasing of its gross domestic product (GDP). The forecast for next year is slightly ahead of the government's own prediction of 6.2 percent.

Nigeria should benefit from rising oil prices, which according to a recent Reuters poll are set to gradually increase, in part because of geopolitical tension in oil-producing regions including Russia and the Middle East. …

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