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Sierra Leone Business: Salone services sector growth declined in 2018

A new report issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has revealed that activities in the services sector grew in all countries except Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2018, while Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Senegal benefited from buoyant markets for mineral and agricultural commodities and higher private consumption and public investment.  According to the 2019 Economic Report on Africa published last week, economic growth in West Africa climbed from 2.4 per cent in 2017 to 3.2 per cent in 2018, reflecting higher growth in all countries in the sub-region except Burkina Faso, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Ghana and Nigeria benefited from recovering oil prices and higher oil production. Central Africa recovered from an economic slump of –0.2 per cent in 2017 to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2018. Growth is projected to reach 2.7 per cent in 2019.  All sub-regions recorded growth in 2018. East Africa remains the fastest growing sub-region in Africa, with growth rising from 6.1 per cent in 2017 to 6.2 per cent in 2018, driven by strong public spending on infrastructure and rising domestic demand. While the key drivers of this positive trend vary across countries, they include recovering oil prices; new oil and gas production (Cameroon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea); strong performance in agribusiness, manufacturing and services (Cameroon, Congo and Gabon); tourism and construction (São Tomé and Príncipe); resumption of diamond exports (Central African Republic); and spillovers of Nigeria’s recovery into Cameroon and Chad.  However, inadequate economic diversification (Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea) and adverse weather remain key risks that could derail economic growth in the sub-region. Agriculture remains the dominant economic activity in East Africa and the key driver of growth. Industry and services have been expanding in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, and the mining sector has been strong in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Rwanda and Uganda.  Rising government spending on infrastructure and the fast-growing construction, real estate and retail sectors in Ethiopia and Kenya will continue to boost growth in the sub-region. At the same time oil and gas explorations, favourable weather and enhanced regional integration through the regional economic communities and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offer huge potential for growth across East Africa.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday April 01, 2019.




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