The World Bank released its report on global economic prospects this week. It said that Niger, Senegal, and Rwanda will be among the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2024.

The oil sector is boosting Niger’s growth, which is expected to reach 12.5% this year. This will make it the second-fastest growing economy in the world, after Guyana’s 38.2%. Guyana also has a thriving oil sector. Three more African countries will join the top 10 fastest-growing economies: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia.

It reflects an expectation that the largest economies in Africa — Nigeria, South Africa and Angola — will slow down the rest of the region. Meanwhile, the economies that do not have many natural resources will grow faster than the regional average of 3.8%. If we leave out Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, sub-Saharan Africa will expand by 5% this year.

The projected high-growth economies in sub-Saharan Africa for 2024 are Niger (12.8%), Senegal (8.8%), Rwanda (7.5%), DRC (6.5%), Côte d’Ivoire (6.5%), Ethiopia (6.4%), Benin (6%), Uganda (6%), Guinea (5.9%), Guinea Bissau (5.8%), Tanzania (5.6%), and Liberia (5.4%).

Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola will see some improvement from last year’s low growth. In 2023, they grew by just 1.8%, less than the year before. The World Bank blamed this on Nigeria’s currency reform, Angola’s oil production shortfall, and South Africa’s energy and transportation problems.

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa slowed down to 2.9% in 2023. It was 3.7% and 4.4% in the two years before. The three largest economies had a strong impact on this decline. But other countries also grew slower, at 3.9%. This was because of conflict, weak demand, and policy changes to control inflation.

Two African economies will shrink this year: Equatorial Guinea (-6.1%) and Sudan (0.6%). Both countries face high costs of living and surging poverty rates. Sudan’s GDP contracted by more than 18% in 2023 due to the war which raged in the country since April. The war killed more than 9,000 people and displaced over 5 million people in one of the world’s poorest countries. The conflict brought Sudan’s stagnant economy to its knees, blocking much trade and transport, hampering farming, halting many salary payments, and causing vast damage to infrastructure. The Sudanese pound plummeted, losing 50% of its value since the start of the war.

In October, the IMF forecast that the economy of Equatorial Guinea, OPEC’s smallest member by capacity, will fall back into recession. Equatorial Guinea experienced a seven-year recession through 2021 due to a slump in oil prices further exacerbated by OPEC production cuts. The 2021 devastation of Bata, the largest city and commercial capital, also contributed to the downturn. The economy gained 3.2% in 2022 but tanked again last year as oil production slumped.

The report also warns about the risk of shocks from other places. For example, a conflict in the Middle East could raise the price of oil. That would make food more expensive and disrupt supply chains leading to Africa.

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