GDP in the Southern Africa region will grow by around 2.2% in 2019, up from 1.2% in 2018, according to the African Development Bank’s Southern Africa Region 2019 Economic Outlook launched on 3 April 2019.
The report, which is published annually, provides a broad spectrum of information on economic sustainability in the region. Although growth is expected to remain steady, Southern Africa is the slowest-growing region in Africa, due to high inflation, rising government debt, and low commodity prices, the report revealed.
The report covers the Bank’s Southern Africa region, which comprises 13 African countries, namely: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, São Tome é Principe, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Of these, South Africa contributes two-thirds of the GDP, which grew by less than 1% in 2018, but is expected to pick up this year.
Speaking at the launch ceremony in the AfDB’s Pretoria office, Kapil Kapoor, the Bank’s director general of Southern Africa Office said, “We’re excited to launch the region’s report, which shows promise in growing its economic environment, with a rising GDP and industries that will continue to boost it. The Bank will continue to give its support in the core areas of development focus, outlined by the AfDB’s High Five priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life of the People in Africa.”
The report is divided into two sections. The first details macroeconomic developments in Southern Africa, by looking at the performance and prospects of factors such as indices of poverty, inequality, employment and human development. .
The second section of the report looks at regional integration and the challenges that countries face in promoting it. The latter, is a process that the Bank is keen to conclude, in line with its High Five priorities. Regional integration specifically looks at the trade, production, finance, infrastructure, and free movement of people. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has taken substantial steps toward deeper regional integration more than other regional economic communities except the East African Community, but it remains at 47% below the desired target.