According to the World Bank 2020 classification of world economies released this July, Tanzania and Benin were the only African countries to progress from lower income to middle income status this year, joining African countries such as Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland, Cote d’Ívoire, Kenya, Sudan, and Cameroon, among others.
While receiving the news last week, John Magufuli, Tanzania’s president, congratulated Tanzanians for attaining this milestone achievement five years ahead of schedule.
“I congratulate all my compatriots for this historic achievement. We had envisaged achieving this status by 2025 but, with strong determination this has been possible in 2020,” Magufuli said.
In 2019, Tanzania recorded a growth rate of 7 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, while Benin’s growth rate was estimated at 6.7 percent for the same year.
However, Tanzania’s East African neighbor Uganda missed its target to become a middle income country, according to rankings released by the World Bank. Uganda had aspired to reach lower-middle income status by 2020 and progress into upper-middle income status by 2040.
Uganda’s ambitious plan was premised on the second National Development Plan by prioritizing agriculture, tourism and minerals, such as oil and gas, which would strengthen Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.
This was expected to result in reduced poverty, an increase in employment levels and better health and education services.
Africa is still lagging in the world rankings, with African countries making up more than 75 percent of the countries with lower income status, while they make up about 25 percent of those with lower middle income.
Only Botswana, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Namibia are ranked upper middle income.