Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to slip to 1.6 percent this year, its lowest level in two decades. As Sonia Legg reports, the World Bank reports says it's due to continuing woes in the continent's largest economies South Africa and Nigeria.
Rich in oil and minerals Africa has been one of the world's fastest growing region's over the past decade. But a slump in commodity prices - particularly oil - means economic activity in sub-Saharan regions is slowing down. Growth fell to 3 percent last year. It's predicted to slip to just 1.6 percent this year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFRICA REGION CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK GROUP, ALBERT ZEUFACK SAYING: "This sharp decline in aggregate growth reflects the challenging conditions in three of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola." Around 40 percent of African economies are struggling. But not all. Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania have all reported record GDP growth, according to a new report. (above 6 percent - source: "Africa's Pulse".) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFRICA REGION CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK GROUP ALBERT ZEUFACK SAYING "In countries that are continuing to grow fast we need to build buffers. We need to build buffers to withstand periods of global turbulence and tighter external conditions." Commodity prices are expected to rise by almost 3 percent next year while remaining below their 2011-14 peak. Longer term the outlook is also brighter - with 3.6 percent growth forecast in 2018. But an estimated 270 million Africans still live on less than a dollar a day. And the World Bank would like to see a focus on agriculture to help transform Sub-Saharan regions.