African economies have grown impressively since the turn of the millennium. A continent that has long been associated with poverty is now increasingly talked of in terms of its economic dynamism and burgeoning wealth. In 2000, The Economist notoriously labelled Africa as “the hopeless continent” but, just over a decade later, the magazine has published articles regretting this sobriquet, instead calling it “the hopeful continent” and writing of a boom in Sub-Saharan Africa as western investors “pile into” cities such as Lagos and Nairobi.
After averaging growth of less than 3% per annum during the 1980s and 1990s, Africa’s GDP has risen by more than 5% per annum, on average, since 2000, outpacing most other global regions. During this period, countries such as Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea have been among the fastest growing economies in the world, each expanding by over 8% per annum. As a reflection of Africa’s growing wealth, the World Bank now classifies 27 of Africa’s 54 nations as either mid or high income countries, 12 more than was the case in 2000. Zambia and Ghana were both upgraded to mid income status in 2011.
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