By Hlengiwe Ndlovu | 2018-03-14
INITIAL projections showed the country’s GDP would grow by 1.0 per cent but revised estimates reflect an upward growth trajectory of 1.9 per cent.
In its Recent Economic Development report, the Central Bank of Swaziland attributed improvements in economic performance to better output in the tertiary sector, which grew more than expected.
The report states that while economic growth is projected to be weaker in 2018, it will pick up nevertheless in the medium term.
“Real GDP is projected to grow at 1.3 per cent, which is lower than the initial projection of 2.8 per cent. This downward update for the 2018 outlook is mainly due to slower anticipated growth for the secondary and tertiary sector”.
The agricultural sector also performed better having recorded a 0.7 per cent growth in 2017, indicating a recovery from the drought.
CBS reported that sugarcane production, which was estimated to recover slightly in 2017 before recovering fully in 2018, recorded a growth of seven per cent in 2017 and nine per cent in 2018 from a previous projection of three per cent and 19 per cent in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The secondary sector, on the other hand, was estimated to have increased by 0.7 per cent in 2017 while a contraction of -0.2 per cent is expected this year. The secondary sector last year benefitted from the recovery in the primary sector, especially in the sugar industry.
The country’s re-admission into the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) market was also expected to bring a positive turnout in economic activity, especially towards the manufacturing sector.
With the construction sector, activity was expected to take a hit due to worsening government fiscal challenges.
“These challenges will hinder continued implementation of (government funded) capital projects. In the medium term, the sector is expected to recover mainly driven by envisaged implementation of strategic projects e.g. Lothair railway link.”
The tertiary sector recorded a stronger growth for 2017, 2.7 per cent, primarily due to a higher than anticipated growth in the government sector, a stronger performance of the wholesale and retail sector and the financial services sector.
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