Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy is set to register another year of solid economic performance, expanding at 4½ percent in 2015. This said, the expansion will be at the lower end of the range registered in recent years, mainly reflecting the adverse impact of the sharp decline in oil and other commodity prices.
The effect of this shock will be quite heterogeneous across the region. The region’s eight oil exporters will be hit hard and, with limited buffers, are expected to effect significant fiscal adjustment, with adverse implications for growth. For much of the rest of the region, near-term prospects remain quite favorable, with many countries benefiting from lower oil prices—although, for a number of them, this positive effect will be part offset by the decline in the prices of other exported commodities. Notable exceptions are South Africa, where growth is expected to remain lackluster, held back by continuing problems in the electricity sector, and Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where the Ebola outbreak continues to exact a heavy economic and social toll.
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