The economies of four North African states – Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – are likely to grow by an average rate of 5.5 per cent a year in the five years to 2000, according to forecasts by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

‘In Algeria, economic activity is expected to strengthen as the reform process continues. The projected growth rate is…5.4 per cent per annum,’ the AfDB said in its African Development Report for 1996. It forecast annual growth rates of 5.4 per cent for Morocco and 6.5 per cent for Tunisia until 2000, noting that Morocco’s most serious problem remains periodic drought.

‘The economy of Egypt remains sound and as long as the political situation remains stable, it is anticipated to continue to expand at a forecast rate of 4.7 per cent per annum,’ the report said. By way of comparison, the IMF thinks Egypt’s economic growth could reach at least 6 per cent a year by the end of the century if the government continues its liberalisation policies.

The AfDB’s predictions were in line with a set published by the IMF in May, which forecast gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 1996 at 5.8 per cent in Algeria, 4.8 per cent for Egypt and 6.7 per cent for Tunisia. However, the IMF thinks Morocco will grow faster in 1996, at 9.1 per cent (MEED 3:5:96).