In recent years, some of the economies that have experienced the fastest economic growth in the world are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Economic perspectives in this region are indeed promising if also contrasted. The GDP per inhabitant is on the rise. Although global growth rose to 5,3% in 2012 and to 5,6% in 2013 as a result of firm demands in export, stronger commodity markets and further public spend in infrastructure, disparities between countries are flagrant.
In West African countries, for example, economic growth has lost steam. This slow-down is largely due to civil unrest that brought the export and finance sectors fall in the Ivory Coast, and decreased oil production in Nigeria. Growth in Ghana (12,2%), stimulated by oil production and solid growth in agriculture, mining and services sectors, however, has balanced the regional panorama. Furthermore, South Africa reached a growth rate of 3,1% in 2011 based on reduced inflation to boost consumer spend.
Exports diversification has also played a key role in economic growth. Prior to 2000, Sub-Saharan Africa's economic destiny was linked to the economies of Europe and the United-States. These markets have always been of capital importance. But closer ties with Brazil, Russia, India and China - the BRIC economies - as well as with Gulf countries and Turkey, have contributed towards both sheltering Africa from the world economic crisis and to launching its recovery. Direct foreign investment from countries such as China has contributed strongly to this result. Should this dynamic continue, Africa is expected to become an essential motor to the global economy.
Over the past 15 years, this strong economic growth has induced visible changes all over Sub-Saharan Africa and brought social change due in particular to the slow emergence of a middle class on the continent.
Global economic prospects: Uncertainties and vulnerabilities - World Bank, 2012