South Africa’s economic prospects look dismal

Data measurement group Nielsen has released its African Prospect Index, ranking South Africa as the worst out of selected countries on a number of economic prospects.

The nine countries evaluated by Nielsen, including Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, and Kenya, were ranked in four categories: Macroeconomics, Business, Consumers, and Retail.

The countries selected cover 71% of the African continent’s GDP, and about half of its population, said Nielsen.

The aim of the index is to investigate and understand each country’s relative potential, as well as the source of that potential.

Moving forward, Nielsen said that more “less-apparent countries” are likely to climb the index, as they offer easier trading conditions in blossoming economies.

This was evident when Cote D’Ivoire placed second on the index, behind Nigeria.

African prospects 2015

# Country Macro Rank Business Rank Consumer Rank Retail Rank
1 Nigeria 2 6 1 5
2 Cote D’Ivoire 1 2 8 1
3 Kenya 5 1 5 7
4 Tanzania 3 7 7 6
5 Zambia 7 3 2 4
6 Cameroon 6 9 4 3
7 Uganda 9 4 3 2
8 Ghana 4 5 9 9
9 South Africa 8 8 6 8

Both Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire are expected to show sizable economic growth in the mid to long-term, as is much of the rest of Africa. South Africa bucks the trend, with a slowing economy showing marginal growth.

In the second quarter of 2015, Stats SA reported that South Africa’s economy contracted by 1.3%, with unadjusted real GDP at market prices increasing by only 1.2% year-on-year.

The estimate of real GDP for the first six months of 2015 increased by 1.6% compared with the corresponding period in 2014.

While South Africa did not rank last in any category covered by the index, its scores were consistently low across all rankings – placing it in last place overall.

Despite its low ranking, South Africa cannot be dismissed, Nielsen said, as the country remains the continent’s most mature market – with a large consumer base that is coping relatively well with muted growth.

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