* Region's average growth seen accelerating to over 5 pct
* African poverty coming down, but more action needed
* Investment seen flowing into African oil, minerals
* Labour unrest in South Africa among areas of concern
By Pascal Fletcher
JOHANNESBURG, April 15 Sub-Saharan Africa's
economic growth should accelerate to more than 5 percent over
the next three years, far outpacing the global average, but the
region must do more to convert this into reducing poverty, the
World Bank said on Monday.
In its latest Africa's Pulse analysis of prospects for the
region, the bank saw increased investment, high commodity prices
and a pick-up in the global economy driving this expected growth
surge in the world's poorest continent.
It said foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to
Sub-Saharan Africa were projected to increase to record levels
each year over the next three years, reaching $54 billion by
This compared to $37.7 billion in 2012, a 5.5 percent
increase in a year when FDI flows for developing countries fell
on average by 6.6 percent, the bank added.
The Washington-based multilateral lender predicted
Sub-Saharan Africa's growth would be 4.9, 5.1 and 5.2 percent
for 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.
In 2012, the region's growth was estimated at 4.7 percent.
"If properly harnessed to unleash their full potential,
these trends hold the promise of more growth, much less poverty,
and accelerating shared prosperity for African countries in the
foreseeable future," said Punam Chuhan-Pole, a lead economist in
the World Bank's Africa department.
Compared with Africa's expected growth spurt, global GDP was
projected to expand by 2.4 percent in 2013 and gradually
strengthen to 3 and 3.3 percent in 2014 and 2015.
The report said a decade of strong growth had reduced
poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, with provisional data showing
that between 1996 and 2010, the share of Africans living on less
than $1.25 a day fell from 58 percent to 48.5 percent.
But World Bank economists cautioned that high inequality and
a dependence on mining and mineral exports in many countries had
actually dampened the poverty-reducing effect of income growth.
"While the broad picture emerging from the data is that
Africa's economies have been expanding robustly and that poverty
is coming down, the aggregate hides a great deal of diversity in
performance, even among Africa's faster growers," said Shanta
Devarajan, the World Bank's Chief Economist for Africa.
Noting that higher growth does not automatically mean less
poverty, the report said resource-rich countries such as Gabon,
Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria performed worse than their less
The World Bank said better administering of mineral wealth,
development of agriculture and a careful managing of rapid
urbanisation would help African governments seize the
opportunity to lift more of their people out of poverty.
"Better governance will need to underpin efforts to make
growth more poverty reducing," the report said.
SOUTH AFRICA AMONG PROBLEM SPOTS
The bank added that continuing investment in infrastructure
was critical to maintaining and strengthening growth.
Among the positive developments was the spreading energy
exploration in East Africa that had led to the opening of
several oil and gas wells.
In Southern Africa, Mozambique was expected to attract
increased foreign investment in its huge coal deposits and
offshore gas discoveries and Zambia would continue to see
increased investments in its copper sector.
In West Africa, investment was likely to keep flowing into
the minerals sectors of Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and
But the bank saw some problem spots, singling out labour
unrest in South Africa, the region's largest economy, and
political unrest in Central African Republic, Mali and Togo.
Food price spikes could also be a cause for concern.
Also on the risk side, the World Bank said a fragile global
recovery, whether characterised by a deterioration of market
conditions in the euro zone or a weaker pickup in the United
States, could still undermine the positive African outlook.
It added that with Chinese demand accounting for 50 percent
of many industrial metals exported from Africa, a
sharper-than-envisaged downturn there could lead to a slump in
commodity prices, which would hurt resource-reliant African