How much of sub-Saharan Africa’s growth slowdown is being driven by external factors?

Growth in Africa is slowing down. Between 2004 and 2011, sub-Saharan Africa experienced 6.2 percent growth. Since 2012, it’s slowed to 4.5 percent. So what happened to the Africa rising narrative? The key initial findings of a new study are that almost half of Africa’s output fluctuations since 1998 can be explained by a small set of external factors—namely, GDP growth in G-7 countries, GDP growth in China, oil and non-oil commodity prices, and borrowing costs for emerging economies in international capital markets.

According to this Brookings blog, “if external factors explain half of output fluctuations, then it is crucial to make sure we get ‘the other half’ of domestic factors right. Now that we are in a bust cycle, the political appetite for policy reforms should be higher. Now is the time for implementation.” Neat. But it doesn’t tend to work like that.



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