“The risks to the macro outlook are mostly on the downside. The recovery on the continent will remain fragile.”
Albert Zeufack who spoke at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF), holding in Cape Town, South Africa, said that Africa’s pace of economic growth may pick up this year but that the recovery remains patchy as debt levels are soaring.
He expressed the urgent need for the continent’s drive to boost trade.
“Rising debt levels are fuelling vulnerabilities, especially as external debt is shifting from the public to the private sector, making it imperative to keep Africa’s growth engine humming smoothly.
“For as long as you have improving growth prospects and for as long as you are able to contain deficits, then the debt situation can be contained.”
Also, the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, said that stripping out which the African Development Bank (AfDB) forecasts for the continent’s GDP to increase by 4.0% this year, up from 3.5% in 2018 and the World Bank’s expected increase to 2.8% from 2.3% in 2018 for sub-Saharan Africa, leaves the rest of Africa with a much more respectable growth rate above 5%.
He expressed worry that the growth in Africa’s two largest economies and its biggest democracies, South Africa and Nigeria, is holding the continent back.
“Whatever the final figures, though, it is clear Africa needs to move up a gear if it is to make a dent on chronic unemployment levels and offer hope to millions of youngsters now entering the workforce, thereby capitalizing on a much-vaunted “demographic dividend.
“Having a youthful continent is a huge opportunity but a huge threat as well. It’s a threat if we do not get that population to start really working.”