Africa's Pulse

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Africa’s Pulse is a biannual publication containing an analysis of the near-term macroeconomic outlook for the region. Each issue also includes a section focusing upon a topic that represents a particular development challenge for the continent. It is produced by the Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region of the World Bank.

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Africa’s Pulse, No. 27, April 2023: Leveraging Resource Wealth During the Low Carbon Transition

2023-04-05, World Bank

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed to 3.6 percent in 2022, from 4.1 percent in 2021 but may be bottoming out. Weak investment growth and macroeconomic instability are weighing on economic activity. Inflation remains persistently high and above target despite early and sizable interest rate increase. Amid unfavorable global financial conditions and high levels of debt, African policymakers must bank on their domestic policy space to restore macroeconomic stability, deepen structural reforms to foster inclusive growth, and implement policies that harness the region's resource wealth during the low carbon transmission. This natural wealth holds significant untapped economic potential to address fiscal challenges and drive economic transformation. The low carbon transition is irreversible and will be intensive in the minerals required for the clean energy transition, many of which are abundant across Africa.

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Africa's Pulse, No. 24, October 2021: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future

2021-10-06, Zeufack, Albert G., Kubota, Megumi, Korman, Vijdan, Cantu Canales, Catalina, Kabundi, Alain Ntumba

In 2021, Sub-Saharan Africa emerged from the recession, but its recovery is still timid and fragile. The region is projected to grow at a rate of 3.3 percent—a weaker pace of recovery than that of advanced and emerging market economies. In 2022–23, the region is projected to grow at rates below 4 percent; however, growth above 5 percent is attainable with rapid vaccine deployment in the region and thereby withdrawal of COVID-19 containment measures. In response to the pandemic, African countries are undertaking structural and economic reforms. Countries have been relatively disciplined on monetary and fiscal policies. However, limited fiscal space is handicapping African countries in injecting the fiscal resources required to launch a vigorous policy response to COVID-19.Accelerating the economic recovery in the region would require significant additional externalfinancing, in addition to rapid deployment of the vaccine. Africa’s unique conditions, such as low baseline development, preexisting climate vulnerabilities, low use of fossil fuel energy, and high reliance on climate-sensitive agriculture, pose additional challenges from climate change, but also provide opportunities to build and use greener technologies. Climate change should be considered by policymakers as a source of structural change. For instance, the energy access problem in the region can be solved by the adoption of renewable energy alongside expansion of the national grid. Policy makers need domestic and international financing to create new jobs—including green jobs. For example, in a region where much of the infrastructure, cities, and transportation systems are yet to be built, investments in climate-smart infrastructure can help cities create jobs. In resource-rich countries, wealth exposure to carbon risk can be reduced by fostering asset diversification that supports human and renewable natural capital accumulation. Financing climate change adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa is essential, and policies to mobilize resources are critical to create more, better, and sustainable jobs.

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Africa's Pulse, No.13, April 2016

2016-04-11, Chuhan-Pole, Punam, Calderon, Cesar, Kambou, Gerard, Boreux, Sebastien, Buitano, Mapi M., Korman, Vijdan, Kubota, Megumi, Lopez-Monti, Rafael M.

Urbanization is a source of dynamism that can enhance productivity and increase economic integration, a principle evident from the experience of today’s high-income countries and rapidly emerging economies. Indeed, during the Industrial Age, no country has achieved sustained increases in national income without urbanization. If well managed, cities can help countries accelerate growth and “open the doors” to global markets in two ways: by creating productive environments that attract international investment and increase economic efficiency; and by creating livable environments that prevent urban costs from rising excessively with increased densification. By generating agglomeration economies, cities can enhance productivity and spur innovation and national economic diversification. The underlying reason for this is economic density. This report includes the following highlights: growth will remain lackluster in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, weighed down by low and volatile commodity prices; addressing growing economic vulnerabilities and developing new sources of sustainable, inclusive growth are key priorities for the region; and Africa’s rapid urbanization offers a potential springboard for economic diversification. But building cities that work will require reforming land markets and urban regulations, and coordinating early infrastructure investments.