Africa’s growth has turned around impressively since the start of the century. Against the backdrop of the commodity boom that began in the early 2000s, Africa as a natural resource–rich continent has achieved higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth than in its own past and than in developing regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean.
African countries grew at close to 6 per cent a year over 2001–2008 and coped with the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 and the subsequent downturn of the world economy relatively well (IMF, 2013; AfDB et al., 2014). And in a break with historical trends, growth rates in Central, East, Southern and West Africa have surpassed that in North Africa in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, while those in several countries in North Africa have been hit by political unrest and civil conflict since 2010. Robust annual growth of nearly 5 per cent for Africa is forecast to continue, making it one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, after it reached an estimated growth of 3.9 per cent in 2014.