Economic Report on Africa 2007
African economies continue to sustain the growth momentum of previous years, recording an overall real GDP growth rate of 5.7 per cent in 2006 compared to 5.3 per cent in 2005 and 5.2 per cent in 2004. As many as 28 countries recorded improvements in growth in 2006, relative to 2005. Only Zimbabwe recorded a negative growth rate in 2006. Africa’s growth performance in 2006, as in previous years, was underpinned by improvement in macroeconomic management in many countries, and strong global demand for key African export commodities, sustaining high export prices, especially for crude oil, metals and minerals.
However, for most African countries, real growth rates have remained low relative to their development goals. With only five countries recording an average real GDP growth rate of 7 per cent or more during 1998-2006, few African countries are positioned to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Meanwhile, growth performance exhibits substantial disparities across the five subregions. North Africa recorded the highest acceleration in GDP growth, followed by Southern Africa. There was a deceleration in growth in West Africa and East Africa, whereas Central Africa maintained the same growth rate as in 2005. Heavy dependence on primary commodities remains a common feature of production, exports and growth in all the subregions. This exposes the continent to external shocks and makes economic diversification a top priority for growth policies on the continent.