Tanzania to do better as Kenya tumbles over post-election
By Edward Ojulu
East African countries are projected to withstand the current
high food prices and the persistent energy deficit to post
an impressive economic growth of about 7.3% in 2008—above
the continental average of 6%.
The 2008 African Economic Outlook published by the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the
African Development Bank (AfDB), however said that Kenya’s
economic growth would slowdown due to the negative impact
of the December 2007 post election violence.
The violence caused by a disputed presidential election
has hurt agriculture and the tourism sector—the country’s
two main source of employment and revenue.
Tanzania and Uganda as well as regional neighbours Ethiopia
and Sudan, the regions fastest growing economies are projected
to maintain the momentum or even post higher growth rates.
“Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, which were the fastest
growing countries in the sub-region in 2007, are projected
to maintain or increase their high growth rates in 2008
and 2009,” the report states.
The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic has projected
Uganda’s economic growth at 7%.
Good macroeconomic policies in most African countries that
have seen an increase in investor confidence is credited
for the continent’s bright economic outlook . “…Multilateral
Debt Relief Initiative have created more room for increased
public investment in many countries,” the report states.
Dr Louis Kasekende, the AfDB Chief Economist has however
warned that African countries need to achieve and sustain
economic growth rate of about 8% if the number of Africans
living in abject poverty is to reduce.
“Yet, the continent still needs to accelerate and
sustain growth to the rate of 7 to 8 per cent to be able
to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving
the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015,”
Kasekende is quoted saying.
North Africa comes second with real GDP growth expected
to strengthen from 5.3% in 2007 to 6.2% for both 2008 and
2009. High prices for oil and gas, and strong growth in
tourism will be the major driving factor, the report said.
Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, are the star performers, although
“moderate expansion” will be expected in Algeria,
Mauritania and Morocco.
According to the same report, average economic growth for
Southern African countries is projected to decline to 5.2%
in 2008 down from 7% of the previous year.
The regions economic growth outlook appears to have been
affected by the electricity shortage that has hit South
Africa, the region’s largest economy.
“While Botswana is expected to grow slightly above
4.0 per cent and Malawi by about 5.0 per cent in 2008 and
2009, the projections for South Africa indicate that GDP
growth will slow to 4.0 per cent in both years due to insufficient
electricity production growth,” the report said.
Angola’s growth will also slow down to 11.5% in 2008
from 19.8% due to low oil production, the report said.
West Africa will grow by 5.6% this year, recovering from
3.5% of the previous year boosted by high oil prices in
Nigeria—the regions most populous nation and economic
power house; while increased agricultural production in
countries such as Ghana will power growth.