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Africa’s Growth has Downshifted Since 2010 after a Promising Opening to the Millennium

Africa entered the 21st century with a promising burst of economic growth that persisted for a decade before returning to the slow pace it experienced in the 1990s. From 2000 to 2010, real GDP grew at an average rate of 5.1 percent annually, up from an annual average of only 2.5 percent in the previous decade. Growth slowed to 3.3 percent per year between 2010 and 2019. Almost half of Africa’s people live in countries where GDP growth between 2010 and 2019 exceeded the continent’s average growth rate of 4.2 percent since 2000. These countries, which fall into clusters we call “consistent growers” and “recent accelerators,” were largely midsize economies that benefited from higher-than-average increases in investment, exports, and urbanization, which increased productivity. These countries offer valuable models for the continent to emulate.