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In previous global downturns, sub-Saharan Africa has usually been badly affected—but not this time around.
The world economy has experienced much dislocation since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. Output levels in many advanced economies still remain below pre-crisis levels, while unemployment levels have surged; growth in emerging market economies has slowed, but remains quite high.
But in sub-Saharan Africa, growth for the region as a whole has remained reasonably strong (around 5 percent), except for 2009 – where the decline in world output and associated shrinking of world trade pushed Africa’s growth down to below 3 percent.
Some better than others
Of course, sub-Saharan Africa is a diverse region, and not all economies have fared equally well. The more advanced economies in the region (notably South Africa) have close links to export markets in the advanced economies, and have experienced a sharper slowdown, and weaker recovery, than did the bulk of the region’s low-income economies. Countries affected by civil strife (such as Cote d’Ivoire, and now Mali) and by drought have also fared less well than other economies in the region.
So why has most of sub-Saharan Africa continued to record solid growth against the backdrop of such a weak global economy? And can we expect this solid growth performance to continue in the next few years?
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