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Africa: Disappointing end to a painful year

The latest figures from across Africa suggest that most economies in the region continued to perform poorly at the end of 2016. Activity data from South Africa suggest that the region’s most industrialised economy shifted into reverse at the start of Q4. Elsewhere, the latest survey data indicate that Nigeria’s economy continued to contract in the last three months of the year. We doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest budget proposal will jolt the country’s economy out of recession. Even in Kenya, where growth has held up pretty well this year, the economy seems to have softened in recent months. Ghana, at least, provided a bit of good news. The country’s transparent and fair election is now leading to another orderly transition of power. President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo has the good fortune to inherit an economy that is already on the mend. More generally, we expect that economic growth across Africa will pick up a bit in 2017. Even so, growth across the region will continue to fall far short of rates that many had until recently taken for granted.

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