African Economic Outlook

OECD Development Centre

1999-1029 (online)
1995-3909 (print)
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This fact-filled annual reference book brings the reader the latest available economic information for most of the economies of Africa. Drawing on the expertise of both the African Development Bank and the OECD, it opens with an overview that examines the international environment, macroeconomic performance, progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, and governance and political issues. The second part provides individual country reports for 30 countries. Each country report provides an assessment of recent economic performance, economic projections, an examination of structural issues, and a discussion of the political and social context. The statistical annex presents 24 tables comparing economic and social variables across all the countries of Africa.

Also available in French
African Economic Outlook 2016

African Economic Outlook 2016

Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation You do not have access to this content

OECD Development Centre

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23 May 2016
9789264256477 (PDF) ;9789264256460(print)

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The African Economic Outlook 2016 presents the continent’s current state of affairs and forecasts its situation for the coming two years. This annual report examines Africa’s performance in crucial areas: macroeconomics, financing, trade policies and regional integration, human development, and governance. For its 15th edition, the African Economic Outlook  takes a hard look at urbanisation and structural transformation in Africa and proposes practical steps to foster sustainable cities.

A section of country  notes summarises recent economic growth, forecasts gross domestic product for 2016 and 2017, and highlights the main policy issues facing each of the 54 African countries. A statistical annex compares country-specific economic, social and political variables.

Also available in French, Portuguese
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  • Foreword

    The African Economic Outlook (AEO) celebrates its 15th edition this year. The African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme partner to produce this annual report. A team of over 100 researchers, economists, statisticians and other experts from Africa and other regions of the world collaborate on the AEO.

  • Editorial

    Africa’s economic performance held firm in 2015, amid global headwinds and regional shocks. Growth in real GDP is estimated at 3.6%, higher than the 3.1% for the global economy and 1.5% for the euro area. Africa remained the world’s second fastest growing economy after East Asia. In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) grew faster than the continental average, at 4.2%, with East Africa leading the way at 6.3%. Growth in Central, North and West Africa was above 3%, while Southern Africa grew by an average of 2.2%. Looking ahead, average growth in Africa is expected to remain moderate at 3.7% in 2016 but could accelerate to 4.5% in 2017. This forecast hinges on the strength of the world economy and a gradual recovery in commodity prices.

  • Executive summary

    The African Economic Outlook 2016 shows that the continent is performing well in regard to economic, social and governance issues and has encouraging prospects for the near future. With its special theme on sustainable cities and structural transformation, this edition looks closely at Africa’s distinctive pathways towards urbanisation and at how this is increasingly shifting economic resources towards more productive activities.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Africa’s performance and prospects

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    • Africa's macroeconomic prospects

      This chapter looks at macroeconomic conditions in the different regions and countries of Africa, as well as in the continent as a whole. It highlights how weaker oil and commodity prices, uncertain global conditions and domestic political uncertainties are affecting many African economies and explores how their governments are responding to these challenges. It examines Africa’s recent economic growth and prospects for 2016 and 2017 and important driving forces on the demand and the supply side, as well as headwinds from adverse developments in terms of trade, which also affect fiscal positions and current accounts.

    • External financial flows and tax revenues for Africa

      Despite falling commodity prices, Africa’s external financial flows have remained stable overall. This chapter analyses trends in those flows; from foreign direct investment and portfolio equity which fell, to remittances and official development assistance which are increasing. It also studies Africa’s tax revenue collection that has dropped because of lower resource revenues. The chapter looks at the policy challenges and opportunities related to attracting financial inflows ranging from the need to stabilise foreign inflows and implementing medium- to long-term structural policies as part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 to step up the continent’s development.

    • Trade policies and regional integration in Africa

      Accelerated growth in Africa since 2000 has increased the opportunities for enhanced trade while the continent is also looking to step up integration between its regions to further boost growth and job creation. This chapter looks at developments in trade, investment flows, integration and income convergence between regions and countries. It suggests ways for policy makers to spur growth and seize trade opportunities so that the income gap can narrow more speedily. The financial sector, infrastructure and new, bigger free trade areas are all analysed to see how they can help the effort.

    • Human development in Africa

      This chapter reviews Africa’s progress from a human development perspective and provides projections building on current trends. A sub-regional approach is employed to examine the expansion of people’s capabilities in relation to living standards, healthy lives and increasing knowledge. The chapter also explores the negative impact of inequality – including gender inequality – on all levels of human development. Human progress in expanding cities and settlements is considered in the context of the global 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063. The chapter concludes with a range of best practices from country experiences in promoting human progress through more equitable and sustainable human settlements.

    • Political and economic governance in Africa

      This chapter assesses the governance trends affecting Africa’s economic outlook by examining the most recent metrics on the functioning of African public institutions. It looks at how the quality of public service delivery and the performance of institutions meet citizens’ expectations. It also lays out the improvements citizens are asking for and how governments are responding. Finally, the chapter outlines the prospects for 2016. Key findings are presented first, and details of how these findings were arrived at are provided in subsequent sections.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Sustainable cities and structural transformation

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    • The implications of Africa's urbanisation for structural transformation

      While there is growing awareness that urbanisation is profoundly transforming African societies, little attention has been paid so far to ways in which that process may be harnessed to accelerate the continent’s structural transformation in a more effective and sustainable manner. In pursuit of that ambition, this chapter analyses the diversity and uniqueness of the continent’s urbanisation experiences. Chapters 7 and 8 then focus on options for seizing the opportunities that urbanisation provides. An annex to Chapter 6 explains the methodology for the cluster analysis on urbanisation and structural transformation in diverse African countries.

    • How sustainable cities can contribute to Africa's development

      Urbanisation can be an important driver of Africa’s sustainable development. As Chapter 6 shows, however, this requires new, more effective urban development policies. This chapter identifies the main channels through which urbanisation can accelerate economic, social and environmental development, as well as the policy options to seize those opportunities for structural transformation. Good practices in Africa highlight the need for place-based and participative policies to develop more sustainable cities.

    • National urban strategies for sustainable cities in Africa

      While urbanisation does not in and of itself create structural transformation, it is a fundamental megatrend that will continue to profoundly transform African societies and economies in the coming decades (Chapter 6). More can and must be made of this megatrend for advancing the agenda of sustainable development on the continent (Chapter 7). Although policy priorities and sequencing will depend on each country’s specific context, new and ambitious national urban strategies will need to tackle three broad challenges: i) how to better manage the country’s economic and social spaces in the context of rapid urbanisation; ii) what governance structures should frame the design and implementation of those strategies; and iii) how to finance the necessary investment.

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