The World Bank says economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is rebounding in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades last year. David Pollard reports.
They're building roads in Liberia. In Kenya, it's railways. But elsewhere, it's a long wait for what public transport there is. Growth in Africa's economies will be better this year, the World Bank says. If not quite fast enough yet for the growth in their population. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFRICA REGION CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK, ALBERT ZEUFACK SAYING: "Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at a moderate rate of 2.6 percent in 2017, and somewhat improve towards three percent in 2018. This timid recovery is certainly better than the 1.6 percent we had in 2016, the lowest in a decade, but it is still below population growth in Africa. So our continent is still experiencing a negative per capita growth." And at 2.6 per cent, it would be double 2016. The worst year for growth in more than two decades - as Nigeria and others struggled with plunging oil and commodity prices. This year, the issue is investment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEAD ECONOMIST WORLD BANK, PUNAM CHUHAN POLE SAYING: "One of the challenges for the region is to be able to boost investment, both public investment and private investment. And we are making a case that public investment needs to increase in Africa because of the vast development needs of the region. But public investment will not be sufficient to meet these investment needs and we need to crowd in private investment." There are hot spots. Ivory Coast and six other countries averaging over five per cent GDP in recent years. But Africa still trails in infrastructure performance compared to other developing regions. At a time of a new challenge for exporters. The protectionism that's seen emerging in the West.