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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  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, No. 25, April 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-13) Zeufack, Albert G.; Kabundi, Alain; Kubota, Megumi; Korman, Vijdan; Raju, Dhushyanth; Abreha, Kaleb Girma; Kassa, Woubet; Owusu, Solomon
    Sub-Saharan Africa's recovery from the pandemic is expected to decelerate in 2022 amid a slowdown in global economic activity, continued supply constraints, outbreaks of new coronavirus variants, climatic shocks, high inflation, and rising financial risks due to high and increasingly vulnerable debt levels. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already existing tensions and vulnerabilities affecting the continent. Given the sources of growth in the region and the nature of the economic linkages with Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine might have a marginal impact on economic growth and on overall poverty—as this shock affects mostly the urban poor and vulnerable people living just above the poverty line. However, its largest impact is on the increasing likelihood of civil strife as a result of food- and energy-fueled inflation amid an environment of heightened political instability. The looming threats of stagflation require a two-pronged strategy that combines short-term measures to contain inflationary pressures and medium-to-long-term policies that accelerate the structural transformation and create more and better jobs. In response to supply shocks, monetary policy in the region may prove ineffective to bring down inflation and other short-run options may be restricted by the lack of fiscal space. Concessional financing might be key to helping countries alleviate the impact of food and fuel inflation. Over the medium term, avoiding stagflation may require a combination of actionable measures that improve the resilience of the economy by shoring up productivity and job creation. Lastly, ongoing actions to enhance social protection—including dynamic delivery systems for rapid scalability and shock-sensitive financing—could be strengthened further to improve economic resilience against shocks and foster investments in productive assets.
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, No. 24, October 2021: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 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.
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, No. 15, April 2017
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) World Bank Group
    Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6 percent in 2017, following a marked deceleration in 2016. The upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018-19, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions. The pace of the recovery remains weak, however, as the region's three largest economies – Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa – are projected to post only a modest rebound in growth following a sharp slowdown in 2016. Investment growth will recover only gradually, amid tight foreign exchange liquidity conditions in major oil exporters and low investor confidence in South Africa. Growth will be limited in several metals exporters, as well as in oil exporters in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, as these countries embark on fiscal adjustment to stabilize their economies. Among non-resource intensive countries, such as Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania, growth is expected to remain generally solid, supported by domestic demand.
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, No.13, April 2016
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 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.
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, October 2015
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10-05) Chuhan-Pole, Punam; Calderon, Cesar; Kambou, Gerard; Boreux, Sebastien; Buitano, Mapi M.; Korman, Vijdan; Kubota, Megumi
    External headwinds and domestic difficulties are impacting economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth will decelerate in 2015 amid weak global economic conditions. Some countries, however, will continue posting solid growth. Sub-Saharan Africa is entering a period of tightening borrowing conditions amid growing domestic and external vulnerabilities. Reflecting the widening fiscal deficits, government debt has continued to rise in many countries. Weak fundamentals, combined with the strong appreciation of the U.S. dollar, have kept currencies across the region under pressure throughout the year. Policy buffers are low in several countries, constraining the response to the current environment and underscoring the need for African countries to improve domestic resource mobilization and enhance public expenditure efficiency. Progress in reducing income poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa may have been faster than the authors thought, but poverty remains high. The region’s growth deceleration challenges efforts to reduce poverty.
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, April 2013 : An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa's Economic Future
    (Washington, DC, 2013-04) World Bank
    This Africa's pulse newsletter includes the following headings: Sub-Saharan African countries continue to grow at a steady pace; the region's decade-long economic expansion appears sustainable; and for newly resource-rich countries, strong governance will be key to harnessing resource wealth for development
  • Publication
    Africa's Pulse, April 2011 : An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa's Economic Future
    (Washington, DC, 2011-04) World Bank
    This Africa's pulse newsletter includes the following heading: recent global economic trends and prospects; factors driving the region performance; risk to economic prospects; and rising commodity prices.