The African economies to watch this year

The African economies to watch this year

Positive economic performances are expected to outweigh the challenges in 2017

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The instability and continued drop in prices seen in the commodities market was largely responsible for the reduced economic growth seen across the African continent in 2016. A report from Ernst & Young in fact described the performance across the region as “the worst year of average economic growth” in the last 20 years.

Whilst the economy of Africa as a whole is hugely dependent on the success or failure of its two main economies; Nigeria and South Africa, experts believe that there is a total of ten African countries that should be watched in the coming year.

Africa’s biggest economies

South Africa and Nigeria between them contribute almost half of the total GDP of sub-Saharan Africa, and the challenges they faced in 2016 were therefore a major contributing factor to the weaker economic performance seen in sub-Saharan Africa during 2016. Slowing economies were not seen across the whole of Africa, however the economies of Nigeria and South Africa have such a significant influence on the overall success or failure of Africa’s economy, that the strong growth rates of over 6% in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire were even overshadowed.

The ten Africa countries to watch

The countries that are expected to succeed in 2017 are those which have promoted industrialization, diversified their economies and made significant investments in their energy infrastructure over recent years. Those expected to continue to struggle are those who continue to rely on the export of only one or two key commodities, such as oil.

The ten countries which are expected to have the greatest influence on the success or failure of the continents economy as a whole are; Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia and Algeria.

Whilst Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, South Africa and Democratic Republic of the Congo are seen by many to have uncertain prospects and as a consequence expected to continue to struggle in 2017, there are a number of other very positive performances being forecast across the continent.

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire, largely thanks to its hugely diversified economy, produced the second highest growth rate seen anywhere in the world in 2016, this success is expected to continue in 2017 in fact many analysts are describing Côte d’Ivoire as the new economic powerhouse of Africa.


Morocco is another African country that is forecast to perform well in 2017, this is in part due to the strategy of King Mohammed VI to make Morocco a global leader in the renewable energy sector.


Senegal’s continued political stability along with the huge number of very diverse projects it has planned for 2017, in sectors ranging from energy, agriculture, health, tourism, financial services and education, are expected to ensure that Senegal will once again produce a strong economic performance in 2017.


Whilst there are some concerns about the political stability of Kenya in the coming year, the positive performance they achieved in 2016 thanks once again to its diversified economic base, is forecast to continue in 2017.


After a difficult 2016 for Ethiopia, significant growth is expected in 2017 as long as the current political crisis can be controlled and/or resolved. The level of foreign investment is continuing to grow, with over $3.5 billion currently being processed.

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