The IMF World Economic Outlook: Will African Countries See Growth in 2023?

 In infographic

Over the past 4 years, the world has endured the economic fallout from the China-US trade war, the COVID-19 pandemic itself plus supply chain disruptions accompanied by inequitable vaccine access, the Russia-Ukraine War and, now, subsequent inflation crisis. Such events have left many countries across the world in a constrained financial position which is likely to continue well into 2023.

The latest IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) therefore comes at a key point in the trajectory of the global economy. But what does the IMF WEO actually mean, especially as we jump from one economic shock to another? Is the global economy as “gloom and doom” as the IMF’s own press releases suggest, especially for Africa? Well, our infographic takes stock of the IMF’s WEO forecasts from 2019 – 2022 thus far and examines what the 2022 Outlook could mean for the continent. Here are four key takeaways.

First, it’s important to note that, aside from 2021, the IMF’s outlook for Africa as a region has been ahead of global forecasts. Indeed, whilst there was a decline in GDP growth by 1.5% in 2020 – falling by US$165 billion, before the COVID-19 outbreak – the IMF had forecasted that the region out to have a GDP of US$2.59 trillion!

Second, despite having a high growth rate pre-COVID-19, the region has been experiencing significant financial losses due to COVID-19 shocks, ranging from US$27.6 billion to US$47 billion in 2021. Yet, this is not surprising. African governments had to spend a significant proportion of their GDP to fund economic and social protection measures throughout COVID-19. Indeed, in January 2022 we estimated that we estimate that African countries have allocated $63 billion in their national budgets to COVID-19 in the 2020-2021 financial year alone, representing 2.3% of African GDP. Yet despite spending on proactive measures, many countries were hit with economic shocks. Taking Ghana as an example, the country lost an estimated US$1.3 billion following a 3-week urban partial lockdown, a staggering 27.9% GDP loss. That US$1.3 billion could be used to fund vital infrastructure projects.

Third, despite setbacks from vaccine inequity, African countries are once again ranked among the IMF’s fastest-growing economies. But how have African countries fared in IMF economic rankings in the past? Well, in 2019 four African countries were in the IMF’s fastest-growing economies – Rwanda (9.5% GDP growth), Ethiopia (9%), Uganda (7.8%) and Tanzania (7%). By 2020 this had jumped to six African countries forecasted to be in the fastest growing economies – with Ethiopia leading with 6% followed by Guinea (4.9%), Tanzania (4.8%) Benin (3.8%), Niger (3.6%) and Egypt (3.6%). However, with the onset of COVID-19, in 2021 Libya was the only African country forecast to see GDP growth at 28.3%. Indeed, it is a similar picture for 2022, with Seychelles as the only ranking African country with 10.9% GDP growth.

Yet, the 2023 forecast reveals a different story – one which is closer to 2019 and 2020 forecasts. In 2023, it is predicted six African countries will be in the top fast-growing economies, with Libya (17.9%), Senegal (8.1%), Niger (7.3%), DRC (6.7%), Rwanda (6.7%) and Cote d’Ivoire (6.5%). Further, 2023’s latest forecast not only projects a return to six African countries among the top world’s 10 but on average, their growth is seen outpacing pre-COVID-19 levels.  As a region, the continent has been forecasted to grow by 3.7% – up by 0.1% from 2022.

Fourth, this does not necessarily mean that the continent’s post-pandemic recovery is well underway – as there are numerous constraints placed on African countries’ growth. Challenges to growth include ongoing inflation rates, increasing trade costs and interest rate hikes. However, most importantly, access to concessional financing to fund continued growth is limited – with the international financial system becoming more constrained whilst domestic resource mobilisation remains limited.

But why is more finance needed for the continent to continue growing? Especially with new “debt crisis” narratives popping up every day? The fact is that African countries still have huge infrastructure gaps to address to meet the SDGs and Agenda 2063 – and cheap, accessible and fair financing is key. However, due to the IMF and World Bank’s Debt Sustainability Analysis and its inherent bias, many countries are locked out of the system, and have to either go without funding or secure costly private sector loans with higher interest rates and shorter terms! Our own forecasting analysis from August 2022 shows that for Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal or Cote d’Ivoire to meet the SDGs, they would need to spend more than 15% of their GDP per annum.

In sum, whilst African countries and the region look to experience growth in 2023, more finance – including from the IMF – will be needed to ensure that growth can continue and accelerate to achieve long-term, sustainable development.

To find out how Development Reimagined can support you, your organisation or Government to review key economic response policies to the COVID19 crisis, the Russia/Ukraine war and other shocks please email the team at

Special thanks go to Rugare Mukanganga, Jade Scarfe,  Jiayin Xu and Ivory Kairo for their work on the graphics, collecting/analysing the underlying data and sharing this accompanying article.

The data was collated from a range of sources including: government websites and media reports, IMF and World Bank data and statista. Our methodology is entirely in-house, based on analysis of economic growth, inflation and other trends.

If you spot any gaps, have any feedback or would like to follow-up on this infographic to request some further information or underlying data, please write to us at, we will aim to respond ASAP!

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Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.


    Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.


Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.


China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.


Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.


Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.


Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.


Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.


Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.


Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.



Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.



Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.


Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.


Project Manager

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.


Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.


Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds Economics and Statistics and respectively.


Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.


Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.


Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.

Yixin Yu

Research Analyst 

Yixin is a Junior Research Analyst and her focus areas is on public-private partnership and entrepreneurship. She has over three years of working experience in both private and public sectors in Ethiopia. She was the China Liaison Officer for project ‘Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa’ at International Trade Centre, where she accumulated rich experience in investment and trade promotion


Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.