The IMF predicted the region’s economy would grow at 5.0 percent in 2012 and 5.7 in 2013, a little slower than expected this year, but faster than expected next year.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to continue growing strongly in the near term,” the Fund said in its regular economic outlook.
Ghana and the Ivory Coast are expected to top the region’s growth this year, with growth of over eight percent.
Oil producers Nigeria, Angola and Gabon will also see strong growth.
The outlook for the rest of the region is also rosy, raising hopes that Africa may be on the verge of experiencing the type of growth that has transformed Latin America and South East Asia in recent decades.
“Economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa has expanded by more than five percent in each of the past three years — continuing a decade-long run of strong performance that was only briefly interrupted by the global downturn in 2009,” the IMF said.
But there were a flew blots on an otherwise positive landscape.
Africa’s leading economy South Africa is likely to experience weak growth of around 2.6 percent this year, thanks in part to spillovers from Europe’s debt crisis.
The IMF predicted South Africa’s economy would grow 3.0 percent next year.
The IMF also warned that African nations must use the prolonged boom to help create a nest-egg for any trouble ahead.
And Sub-Saharan Africa still has a long way to reach its potential. Today it accounts for just 2.5 percent of world GDP — or 1.3 percent excluding South Africa and Nigeria.