It may feel like the whole world has come to an economic standstill, but the 29 poorest African economies notched a 5.5percent growth rate last year. And the IMF projects an even faster 6 percent for 2011. Part of the growth is from oil revenues, but according to the IMF, exports and private consumption are also fueling the expansion. Of course, growth from a very low base still does not imply a rapid change in standards of living, but it’s certainly welcome news.
Increasingly, I hear of serious investors considering Africa as a destination for their capital. As in most things African, Americans are slow to the party. And given political instability, and weak governance, I can understand the hesitation. But while Ivory Coast and a few other hotspots tend to grab the headlines, many rosier pictures tend to go under-reported.
Unfortunately, the IMF is less optimistic about the middle-income countries and notes South Africa’s loss of a million jobs.