According to this year’s World Economic Situation Prospects, the global economy suffered its lowest growth in a decade, slipping to 2.3 per cent in 2019, as trade disputes impacted economic activity. The world, however, could see a slight uptick in growth in 2020 if risks are kept at bay.
Average GDP growth in Africa is projected to accelerate slightly from 2.9 per cent in 2019 to 3.2 per cent in 2020. Disappointingly, GDP per capita for the continent as a whole grew by only half a per cent annually in the past decade. In South Africa, growth is estimated at 0.5 per cent for 2019, well below potential. The growth outlook remains bleak, as the economy continues to be negatively affected by policy uncertainties, weak business sentiment and limited fiscal policy space.
As Africa’s growth continues to be closely aligned with commodity price cycles, a fundamental diversification of the productive structure is necessary. The African Continental Free Trade Area is a step in the right direction to promote regional trade and investment integration, the diversification of exports and higher-paying jobs.
The short-term risks in Africa are tilted to the downside. On the domestic front, weather-related shocks will likely have adverse effects on agricultural output, with dire economic and social consequences. In addition, political conflicts, social instability and security concerns can affect the short-term outlook in many countries.
WHAT: The regional launch of the World Economic Situation Prospects Report 2020 by the UN in South Africa.
WHERE: UN World Food Programme Offices, Merafe House, 11 Naivasha Road, Sunninghill, Sandton, 2157
WHO: Speakers include the UN Resident Coordinator, Nardos Bekele-Thomas and Kirsten Thompson, the Managing Director of Research at Plus Economics.
WHEN: Wednesday, 22 January 2020 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.