Ethiopian Business Review

In the past, Africa’s cities have been growing, invisible from the global community. However, in recent years, some African cities have started becoming more noticeable on the world stage. This is partially due to the growth of private wealth, making Africa’s cities more vibrant and filled with diverse economic activities. Estimates suggest that more people are expected to migrate to Africa’s cities in order to access economic opportunities and better living standards in the future. In fact, an additional 1.3 billion people will be added to Africa’s population by 2050, and all of Africa’s key sub-regions will have more than 50Pct of their population living in urban areas, according to the Africa Wealth Report 2018.

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Fuelled partly by exchange rate depreciations and widening fiscal deficits, average inflation across Africa stood at 7.2Pct in 2017, increasing from 5.6Pct in 2016, according to the African Trade Report published by the African Export-Import Bank  in July 2018. However, there was wide variation across countries. For instance, inflation remained high in several economic giants such as Egypt, Nigeria and Angola. On the other hand, countries like Swaziland, Mali and Cameroon exhibited the lowest inflation rates in 2017.

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In 2017, the reserves of many African countries showed increases due to better commodity prices. In particular, increased oil and export earnings helped reverse the downward trend in Africa’s reserve position in 2016. Africa’s external reserves declined by 9.4Pct in 2016 to USD396.63 billion, while in 2017 it showed a 6.3Pct increase reaching USD421.53 billion. 

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