In 2018, Nigeria’s economy stuttered, foreign investors welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive and budget discipline, and despite a rebound in oil prices, Angola’s economy continued to experience a slump, while Ethiopia’s new reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed implemented a series of economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investor as well. But what is in store for Africa in 2019? Here is a snapshot.
Nigeria is set to go to the polls in what is essentially a referendum on President Mohammed Buhari’s performance thus far.
The election, which will be held next month, comes as Africa’s biggest economy is in the doldrums – although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts growth to pick up to 2.3% in 2019, but says inflation will rise by 1.1% year-on-year to 13.5% this year.
The weak performance in 2018 occurred despite the global price of crude oil, which accounts for over half of government revenue, shooting up, peaking at $76.41 per barrel in October. Production in the West African nation was also strong, reaching 1.93m barrels per day in August.
Meanwhile, Oil prices are forecast to average $67.45 per barrel next year, according to a Reuters poll of economists and analysts, down from an average of $72.84 per barrel this year, but up from $54.15 per barrel in 2017.
As Nigeria’s economy stutters, the Northern region of the country continues to experience severe insecurity, with thousands killed this year in herder-farmer violence, while the militant Islamist group Boko Haram continues its attacks, including killing more than 100 soldiers at a single base in November.
The main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been buoyed by a series of defections from the ruling party. Its presidential candidate, 72-year old Atiku Abubakar, has promised ambitious programmes to lift 50m Nigerians out of poverty and create 3m jobs a year.
The incumbent’s prospects of securing another term will likely be determined by the state of the economy, which is vulnerable to global events out of its control, says John Ashbourne, a senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.
“In Nigeria, growth will stay quite weak and may even slow down a little bit because oil price forecasts show a decline and there may also be some disruptions because of the election,” he says. “The vote appears to be close and the re-election of President Buhari is not guaranteed, therefore.”
In the same vein , Africa’s second-biggest economy, South Africa, will also hold general elections next year as President Cyril Ramaphosa