Economic Growth in Africa: Comparing Recent Improvements with the "lost 1980s and early 1990s" and Estimating New Growth Trends
In the first part of the paper we look at economic growth in Africa over the past three decades. We divide the past three decades into two parts: A „lost period“ from 1981 to 1995 and a „recovery period“ since the second half of the 1990s. During the first period, Africa did not catch up but lost ground, Africa’s average per capita income declined. Since the mid-1990s the continent started to catch-up. The boom in the oil price and other raw material prices during the past decade explains only part of this rebound. Many countries also benefited from greater political stability and economic reforms. Although the improved growth performance has helped to improve human development and reduce poverty, poverty levels remain high in many countries and more needs to be done to make growth more “inclusive”.In the second part we estimate the trend growth rates for Africa and several individual countries. We use the Hodrick-Prescott filter with different values for the smoothing parameter lamda. For some countries we specify time-varying values for lamda in order to model breaks in the level and the growth rates of GDP trend. For Africa as a hole and for most countries we find relatively low trend growth rates until the mid-nineties. Since then the trend growth rates rose remarkably - for Africa from 2 % to about 5 %. In the last five years we observe a slight decrease to about 4½ %.
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