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Top 20 Fastest Growing Economies in Africa, 2020

Rwanda is Africa’s fastest-growing economy, according to the 2020 African Economic Outlook report.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa

Rwanda is closely followed by, Ethiopia (7.4 per cent), Côte d’Ivoire (7.4 per cent), Ghana (7.1 per cent) and Benin 6.7 per cent.

East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region, predicted with an average growth estimated at five per cent in 2019; North Africa was the second-fastest, at 4.1 per cent, while West Africa’s growth rose to 3.7 per cent in 2019, up from 3.4 per cent the year before.

Overall, Africa’s economic growth stabilised at 3.4 per cent in 2019 and is expected to pick up to 3.9 per cent in 2020 and 4.1 per cent in 2021 but to remain below historical highs.

East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region
with estimated growth of 5.0 percent in 2019, with Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania leading.

South Sudan’s growth accelerated from 0.5 percent in 2018 to 5.8 percent in 2019, mainly as a result of increased oil production following the peace agreement in September 2018. But growth slowed in Kenya from 6.5 percent to 5.9 percent, with the winding down of the fiscal stimulus from previous years.

North Africa is the second-fastest-growing region, with average growth estimated at 4.1 percent for 2019. Its performance is explained by the growth momentum in Egypt (from 5.3 percent in 2018 and 5.6 percent in 2019), driven by the vigorous implementation of economic reform programs and gas extraction in the Zohr field. Other countries with growth accelerations include Algeria (from 1.4 percent in 2018 to 2.3 percent in 2019)
and Mauritania (3.6 percent to 6.7 percent).

In Southern Africa, growth slowed from 1.2 percent in 2018 to 0.7 percent in 2019, dragged down by cyclones Idai and Kenneth and the devastation of infrastructure and agriculture in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia.

While West Africa’s growth rose to 3.7 percent in 2019, from 3.4 percent the year before.
Central Africa is estimated to have grown at 3.2 percent in 2019, from 2.7 percent the year before.

Top 20 Fastest Growing Economies in Africa 2020

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

1. Rwanda (8.7 per cent)

Real GDP was estimated to grow at 8.7% in 2019, higher than the regional average. Growth was mainly in services (7.6%) and industry (18.1%), particularly construction (30%). Investment drove growth, led by public investment in basic services and infrastructure. Real GDP per capita increased 6.1% in 2019.

2. Ethiopia (7.4 per cent)

Real GDP growth slowed to an estimated 7.4% in 2019 from 7.7% in 2018, caused by social unrest and fiscal consolidation to stabilize the public debt. On the supply side, industry and services continued to lead growth in 2019. Industry was driven by construction, notably for industrial parks and infrastructure investments. On the demand side, private consumption and domestic investment were the primary growth drivers in 2019, but domestic investment slowed, reflecting fiscal consolidation.

3. Côte d’Ivoire

The economy continues to post good numbers. Real GDP growth was 7.4% in 2018 and 2019, and could remain above 7.0% during 2020–21.

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The service sector remains the main driver of the economy, contributing 3.4 percentage points to growth in 2018.

Industry contributed 1.5 percentage points in 2018 thanks to a dynamic agrifood industry and construction and public works sector.

The primary sector contributed 0.8 point thanks to agriculture, which benefited from good rainfall and seed distribution by the government. The contribution of extractive industries fell due to the slump in oil production.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

4. Ghana

Ghana’s economy continued to expand in 2019, with real GDP growth estimated at 7.1%. High growth momentum since 2017 has consistently placed Ghana among Africa’s 10 fastest-growing economies. Improvements in the macroeconomic environment were accompanied by expansion in domestic demand due to increased private consumption. The industrial sector, with average annual growth exceeding 10%, was a major driver of growth in the three years to 2019.

5. Tanzania

Real GDP growth was estimated at 6.8% in 2019, down slightly from 7% in 2018. A markedly diversified economy, characterized by robust private consumption, substantial public spending, strong investment growth, and
an upturn in exports underpinned the positive outlook.

Tourism, mining, services, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing are notable sectors. Growth is projected to be broadly stable at 6.4% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2021, subject to favorable weather, prudent fiscal management, mitigation of financial sector vulnerabilities, and implementation of reforms to improve the business environment.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

6. Benin

Economic growth in Benin remains robust (estimated at 6.7% in 2019), thanks in part to an increase in public investment from 21% of GDP in 2016 to 29.6% in 2019.

7. Mauritania

Real GDP growth in 2019 is estimated at 6.7%, up from 3.6% in 2018, thanks to increased production in extractive industries and a rise in exports in the fishing sector.

8. Niger

Real GDP growth, averaging 5.6% over 2016–18, was estimated at 6.4% in 2019 due to strong performance by the primary and tertiary sectors. This growth is due to investments in infrastructure, extractives, and services, as well as to structural reforms, especially actions aimed at developing the private sector and strengthening the resilience of agriculture. Inflationary pressures remained contained, with an estimated rate of 1.5% for 2019.

9. Uganda

The Ugandan economy reported strong growth in 2019, estimated at 6.3%, largely driven by the expansion of services. Services growth averaged 7.6% in 2019, and industrial growth 6.2%, driven by construction and mining. Agriculture grew at just 3.8%. Retail, construction, and telecommunications were key economic drivers. Inflation is expected to remain below 5%, strengthening the domestic economy.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

10. Guinea

Guinea’s economic growth has remained steady thanks to reforms improving the business environment. Real GDP growth is estimated at 6.2% for 2019 (6.0% in 2018). The tertiary sector’s contribution to growth was 3.6 points in 2018, while those of the primary and secondary sectors were 0.7 points and 1.7 points, respectively.

11. Djibouti

Real GDP growth has remained strong, estimated at 6% for 2019. From a demand point of view, it is driven by public investment in rail and port infrastructure.
On the supply side, it should continue to be driven by the tertiary sector, notably trade with Ethiopia, which accounts for 80% of Djibouti’s port activities. Inflation is estimated at 2.2% for 2019.

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12. Burkina Faso

Real GDP growth is estimated at 6% for 2019 (6.8% in 2018), driven primarily by dynamic secondary sector (8.3% growth) and services (6.6%), as well as by sustained growth in private consumption (7.5%) and public consumption (6%).

13. Senegal

Real GDP growth has been above 6% on average since 2015, propelled by the Plan for an Emerging Senegal (2014–18).

14. Kenya

Real GDP grew by an estimated 5.9% in 2019, driven by household consumption and investment on the demand side and services on the supply side (such as public administration, information technology, finance and insurance, and transport and storage). GDP was down from 6.5% in 2018, caused mainly by unfavorable weather and reduced government investment.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

15. South Sudan

Real GDP growth was an estimated 5.8% in 2019, a large increase from 0.5% in 2018. The 2019 rebound was driven mainly by reopening some oil fields, including those in Upper Nile state, and resuming production, and by the peace agreement signed in September 2018. The oil sector remains the key driver of the economy, followed by services and agriculture.

16. Egypt

Economic growth in Egypt, estimated at 5.6% for 2019, is forecast to strengthen to 5.8% in 2020 and 6% in 2021, supported by broad-based economic reform programs since 2016. Other factors supporting growth include the recalibration of government’s social inclusion programs away from general subsidies on energy products to targeted transfers and improvements in the business environment. Tourism, construction, and oil and gas were driving growth. On the demand side, consumption remained subdued as exports and investments were more robust

17. Gambia

Following the 2016 political transition, GDP growth accelerated to 6.6% in 2018 driven by a recovery in agriculture, tourism, construction, and trade. It then fell to an estimated 5.4% in 2019 due to weak fiscal management and delays in budget support disbursements.

Top 20 Fastest-growing Economies in Africa 2020

18. Madagascar

Real GDP growth in 2019 is estimated at 5.2%. The primary sector, with 22.4% in 2019, is driven by traditional agriculture, greatly exposed to the effects of climate change (droughts, cyclones).

19. Togo

Thanks to investments in energy and transportation infrastructure, the investment rate rose from 12% of GDP to 26% over 2012–15 and drove economic growth, estimated at 5.1% in 2019. However, these public expenditures increased the risk of debt unsustainability since it boosted the debt ratio to more than 80% of GDP in 2016.

20. Guinea Bissau

GDP grew by an estimated 5% in 2019, driven mainly by private consumption and exports. Economic performance remains highly correlated with the volumes
and prices of cashew nuts. Considered the “green oil” of Guinea-Bissau, the nuts account for almost 70% of employment and more than 90% of exports.


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