Growth is strong throughout the region

Growth is strong throughout the region, GDP growth of 2.7 percent in 2017 translated into a robust 2.5 percent increase in per capita GDP, as the population is growing at a mere 0.2 percent a year.

This rate of growth was the fastest since 2007 and 0.9 percentage points faster than in 2016 (table 1.1). Growth exceeded 4 percent in 20 of the 47 countries in the region.

Ireland and Malta enjoyed growth of more than 5 percent. Romania and Slovenia in Central Europe; Armenia and Georgia in the South Caucasus; and Turkey, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in Central Asia also reported strong growth.

Azerbaijan, Belarus, and the Russian Federation emerged from recession (although their growth was only moderate). Not a single country in the region experienced a contraction in 2017.

Private sector demand drove this vigorous performance. Government consumption increased by less than 1 percent on average in the region.

Private investment rose by more than 4 percent, and growth in investment outpaced GDP growth for the fourth year in a row. The volume of exports and imports expanded by more than 5 percent in 2017, roughly twice as fast as GDP growth.

The acceleration of growth has been a global phenomenon. Since the summer of 2016, growth of global industrial production has more than doubled, approaching 5 percent in recent months, very close to the 4.8 percent global growth during the 2003–07 boom.

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