Business activity in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economies is expanding due to increased demand and the return of political stability.
Purchasing Managers Indexes published on Thursday showed expansion in companies in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia in December, Bloomberg reported.
“The PMIs indicate that sub-Saharan African economies entered 2018 on a more positive note than at the beginning of last year,” an economist at Bloomberg Economics, Mark Bohlund, said.
“The South African PMI reading is in line with our expectation for the strong private consumption growth in the second and third quarters to moderate in the fourth quarter and 2018,” he added.
South Africa is the only major African economy where the PMI is below 50.
In South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised economy, the index fell and remained below the neutral mark of 50 for the fifth straight month as the fiscal outlook remains challenging and the risk of further sovereign credit ratings downgrades persists.
While economic growth in the region almost doubled to 2.6 per cent last year, according to International Monetary Fund estimates, delays in policy changes are a risk to expansion. Output levels in these economies are often sensitive to changes in commodity prices and the political environment.
Ghana held a peaceful election at the end of 2016, with a new government taking over at the start of last year.
Kenya’s August vote and the rerun in October were marred by violence, and while the incumbent government retained its position, the opposition disputes the outcome.
South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s two largest economies, will both hold elections next year.