Nigeria for the first time in 15 years has dropped out of the league of fastest growing economies in Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook for Africa in 2016.
The revised outlook released on Tuesday indicates that the country’s economy will grow by a modest 3.2 percent from an average of 7.0 percent it has grown in the last decade, making her drop to the league of slow growing economies.
In 2014 and early 2015, Nigeria was named the third fastest growing economy in the world by CNNMoney with China and Qatar ahead of Nigeria on 7.3 and 7.1 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth, respectively.
The country’s status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies came to fore majorly in the wake of its rebased GDP in 2014, which made it Africa’s largest economy and 26th in the world.
In the revised outlook, the IMF noted Cote d’Ivoire as the fastest growing economy in Africa for 2016 while Chad was named the slowest with expected negative growth.
Specifically, the IMF said Cote d’Ivoire dethroned Africa’s giant, Nigeria, and she is expected to experience an 8.5 percent rise in GDP. On the other hand, Nigeria’s neighbour, Chad, is expected to see a -0.4 percent growth.
Chad like Nigeria is one of the countries suffering from the Boko Harm insurgency and is heavily imperiled by systemic corruption and undemocratic tendencies.
The fastest growing economies in Africa by GDP growth rate, as projected by IMF for 2016 are: Cote D’Ivoire (8.5%), Tanzania (6.9%), Senegal (6.6%), Djibouti (6.5%), Rwanda (6.3%), Kenya (6.0%), Mozambique (6.0%), Central African Republic (5.7%), Sierra Leone (5.3%) and Uganda (5.3%).
Also, DR Congo expects a GDP growth of 4.9 percent; Cameroon, 4.9 percent; Ethiopia, 4.5 percent; Ghana, 4.5 percent and Republic of Congo, 4.4 percent.
Madagascar, Zambia and Chad are expected to see a growth of 4.1 percent, 3.4 percent, and 3.2 percent, respectively.
Major oil exporters, Angola and Nigeria, hard hit by the slump in crude oil prices, are projected to see a growth 2.5 and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Notably, this would be the first time Nigeria’s GDP would slump to 2.3 percent growth since the return of democracy in 1999.
Analysts say the economic success story of the past 16 years is gradually turning gloom as the country’s economic fortunes are fast dropping.
Since the All Progressives Congress (APC) came into power on a change mantra, it has been beset with internal party wrangling and the hounding of the opposition on the guise of corruption.
the country has operated for 26 days without a budget and that no policy direction has been muted by the government let alone being concretised.
Inflation, according to the nation’s statistical agency, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has reached a four-year high of 12.8 percent while unemployment has spiraled out of control as well as infrastructure deficit increasingly becoming acute.
The country’s economic underperformance could also be traced to insecurity largely fuelled by Boko Haram insurgency in the North and falling crude oil prices in the international markets.
The country’s pathetic economic and security situation is topping the bill in issues to be discussed when the IMF, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), would meet on Africa later in May.
Nigeria’s fall was rapid and could be compounded if government does not make concerted efforts to rein in inhibitive economic policies acting as hazards, the report says.
This dramatic fall amid opportunities and the high hopes expressed by the rest of the world when the new government came in has been blamed on lack of reform, and government direction.
The new gem of Africa, it said, is Rwanda, which the report urged should be copied as it has transformed dramatically since the 1994 genocide. She is placed 5th in the fastest growing African economies.
The IMF and World Bank list Rwanda as one of the continent’s most competitive economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment.
“It is important to recognize the challenges that many African economies face – the commodities slump, currency devaluations and geo-security risks all threaten growth,” WEF explained.
Therefore, the May meeting of the Forum will highlight the need for diversification in order to ensure inclusive economic growth, tapping into the fourth industrial revolution’s potential to create new industries and help reduce inequality across the continent.
The World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 will take place in Kigali, Rwanda from May 11-13, highlighting the new influential status of the country.