Africa's pulse, April 2019 : an analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have decelerated from 2.5 percent in 2017 to 2.3 percent in 2018, below the rate of growth of population for a fourth consecutive year. Regional growth in 2018 is below the pace projected in 2018 October issue of Africa's Pulse {0.4 percentage points lower). This slowdown was more pronounced in the first half of 2018 and it reflected weaker exports among the region's large oil exporters (Nigeria and Angola) due to dwindling oil production amid higher but volatile international prices for crude petroleum. A deeper contraction in Sudanese economic activity and a broad-based growth slowdown among non-resource-intensive countries also played a role. Sub-Saharan African countries with fragile context have made considerable efforts to find a way out of fragility. Regional and sub-regional economic organizations are promoting economic cooperation and addressing security and peace challenges that go beyond national borders. The special topic of this issue of Africa's Pulse argues that the digital economy can unlock new pathways for inclusive growth, innovation, job creation, service delivery and poverty reduction in Africa. The continent has made. great strides in mobile connectivity; however, it still lags the rest of the world in access to broadband. Only 27 percent of the population in the continent have access to internet, few citizens have digital IDs, businesses are slowly adopting digital technologies and only few governments are investing strategically in developing digital infrastructure, services, skills, and entrepreneurship.

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