World Economy

African Economies Expected to Grow 4.5% in 2015

African Economies Expected to Grow 4.5% in 2015African Economies Expected to Grow 4.5% in 2015

Africa’s overall economy should advance in 2015, expanding by 4.5 percent, showing resilience despite weak commodity prices and the devastating Ebola epidemic, an annual report published Monday said.

And future growth could be spurred by the continent’s population doubling to two billion over the next 35 years, repeating in Africa the economic boom seen in Asia’s biggest countries, AFP reported.

“Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to strengthen to 4.5 percent in 2015 and 5.0 percent in 2016 after subdued expansion in 2013 (of 3.5 percent) and 2014 (3.9 percent),” said the report, co-authored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the African Development Bank and the UN Development Program (UNDP).

The continent has so far been “relatively resilient to the sharp fall in international commodity prices,” said the report, such as crude prices which dropped more than 50 percent between June and January.

And if the commodity prices remain low, the report warned that the economies of resource-rich countries, such as leading oil exporters Nigeria and Angola, may slow down as their governments will inevitably have to trim spending.

The latest forecast is a downward revision from projections made in 2014 which suggested Africa’s economy was going to expand by 5.7 percent this year.

At the same time, economists noted that Africa’s increasing population could boost growth in much the same way that population booms fuelled development in China and India.

“This phenomenon may be helpful as was the case with India and China because the demographic dividends usually help growth,” OECD Development Center director Mario Pezzini told AFP.

But, if Africa fails to absorb the enormous youth bulge in the labor market, “then you may have very strong tensions,” he added.