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  April 9th, 2024 | Written by

Navigating Growth Challenges: Prioritizing Equity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Recovery

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s economies are poised for a modest rebound in 2024, with growth projected to reach 3.4%, according to the latest Africa’s Pulse report from the World Bank. Despite this uptick, the region faces persistent challenges that threaten the sustainability of its recovery and the reduction of poverty.

While increased private consumption and decreasing inflation provide some support to the economic resurgence, vulnerabilities persist. Global economic uncertainties, mounting debt obligations, recurrent natural calamities, and escalating conflicts hinder the region’s growth prospects.

The report forecasts a gradual improvement in growth rates over the next few years, yet this progress remains fragile. Although inflation is moderating and public debt growth is slowing, many African governments grapple with external liquidity issues and unsustainable debt burdens.

Crucially, the pace of economic expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind that of previous decades and falls short of significantly alleviating poverty. Structural inequalities exacerbate this challenge, resulting in less effective poverty reduction compared to other regions.

Andrew Dabalen, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, emphasizes the need for transformative policies to foster faster and more inclusive growth. He notes that relying solely on fiscal measures is insufficient and calls for policies that enhance the private sector’s capacity to generate employment opportunities for all segments of society.

The report also highlights shrinking external resources for African governments and warns of heightened risks from political instability and geopolitical tensions. These factors, coupled with persisting inequalities, underscore the urgency of policy interventions to fortify the region’s resilience against future shocks.

Sub-Saharan Africa grapples with some of the highest levels of inequality globally, manifesting in unequal access to basic services and income-generating activities. Addressing these structural constraints is vital for fostering a more prosperous and equitable future, notes Gabriela Inchauste, co-author of an upcoming World Bank report on inequality in the region.

Africa’s Pulse outlines several policy recommendations to promote robust and equitable growth, including restoring macroeconomic stability, facilitating intergenerational mobility, improving market access, and ensuring fiscal policies do not disproportionately burden the poor.

In navigating the complexities of economic recovery, prioritizing equity and inclusivity is paramount for Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve sustainable and resilient growth.