African Economic Outlook 2016 launched in Sudan’s capital

The 15th Edition of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2016 was launched jointly by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today in Khartoum.

The 15th Edition of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2016 was launched jointly by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today in Khartoum.

The launch was held with the participation of national policy makers, national and international development partners, academia, research institutions, civil society organizations and the media, the AfDB and UNDP said in a joint statement today.

The launching ceremony, which took place at Mamoun Behiery Centre (MBC), was presided over by the State Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Magdi Yasin, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mamoun Beheiry Centre, Dr Sabir Mohamed Hassan. The Resident Representative of AfDB Dr Abdul Kamara and Country Director of UNDP Dr Selva Ramchandran gave keynote addresses at the gathering.

The Minister underscored the importance of this report, stating that “The African Economic Outlook is a very important publication for us as policy makers as it remains the main source of African economic indicators and presents a useful analysis that informs our dialogue and strategic economic and development planning in Sudan. This year’s theme is of extreme importance to us, as it relates to national challenges which we are facing in Sudan such as sustainable cities, urbanization and climate adaptation”. The Minister further underscored the need to sustain the exemplary collaboration between his Government and the AfDB and UNDP, and among development partners to achieve maximum benefits from the support they provide to Sudan.

The AfDB’s Resident Representative in Sudan Dr Kamara highlighted that the AEO has become Africa’s principal annual economic report that provides a comprehensive overview of the economic performance of the entire 54 African countries on a consistent basis, and thus enjoys a pride of place as a premier reference for policy and macroeconomic planning. He added that the AEO also serves as a reservoir of information that seeks to provide policy makers, development practitioners, civil society and the private sector with lessons and best practices across the continent.

Economic performance

On the continent’s economic performance, Kamara noted the downward trend in Growth Domestic Product (GDP) growth at 3.6% in 2015, expected to decline even further in 2016 before beginning to pick up at 3.2% in 2017. He added that Africa is currently the world’s second fastest growing economy after East Asia. He explained that the observed growth is attributed largely to domestic factors, namely private consumption, public infrastructure development and private investment, recognizing that a great potential lies in the continuation of enhancing the business environment accompanied by rapid expansion of regional markets. Kamara further alluded to Africa’s strong economic resilience, but underscored the uncertainties pertaining to volatility of commodity prices, and hence noted a strong need for African countries to deepen structural and macroeconomic reforms to create the basis for diversifying their economies.

Human development

Focusing on the human development side of the report, the UNDP Country Director Dr Selva Ramchandran stated that “The Report shows us that human development is on the rise in the region, evident by the lower poverty levels, rising incomes and improving rates of school enrolment and health coverage. Inclusion, environmental sustainability, youth employment, and gender equality emerge as key themes in the Report and UNDP would like to emphasize their critical relevance in the context of Sudan.” Dr Selva focused on the fact that three out of four Africans still live under dire human conditions in comparison to one out of four globally. He concluded by emphasizing the need for better lives for Africans, which requires strong policy actions for more inclusive growth.

For Sudan, the report states that the country’s economic growth improved to above 5.3% in 2015 and is expected to surpass 6% in 2016 and 2017, driven mainly by agriculture, extractive industries, services, oil-transit fees, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and supported by improved macroeconomic policies. Inflation declined to 16.9% in 2015, and projected at about 13.1% for 2016. The report recommended that Sudan needs a coherent urban-development strategy to better cope with population growth, the internal displacements of people due to residual conflicts and the current feeble urban-rural linkage.

The Report is one of AfDB’s flagship publications and is prepared by a consortium of teams from the AfDB, the OECD Development Centre and UNDP. Each year, the report focuses on a theme of importance to the continent’s development aspirations. The theme for 2016 is “Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation.”

Read the full report here