After strong growth in 2017 and early 2018, global economic activity slowed notably in the second half of last year, reflecting a confluence of factors affecting major economies. China’s growth declined following a combination of needed regulatory tightening to rein in shadow banking and an increase in trade tensions with the United States.

Kenyan households that are exclusively engaged in agriculture contributed 31.4% to the reduction of rural poverty, and agriculture remains the largest income source for both poor and non-poor households in rural areas, according to the latest World Bank economic analysis.

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have decelerated from 2.5 percent in 2017 to 2.3 percent in 2018, below the rate of growth of population for a fourth consecutive year. Regional growth in 2018 is below the pace projected in 2018 October issue of Africa's Pulse {0.4 percentage points lower).

South Asia remained the fastest growing region in the world last year, but growth remained driven by domestic demand – and not exports – which resulted in another year of double-digit volume growth of imports. The value of imports was further pushed up by rising oil prices.

The Southern Africa economy is projected to grow slower than others in the continent—at 2.2 percent in 2019 and 2.8 percent in 2020. At the heart of this slow growth are the major headwinds of high inflation, increasing government debts, and tepid growth in South Africa, which contributes about two-thirds of the region’s GDP.

In 2018, real GDP in East Africa grew by an estimated 5.7 percent, slightly less than the 5.9 percent in 2017 and the highest among African regions. Economic growth is projected to remain strong, at 5.9 percent in 2019 and 6.1 percent in 2020. The countries with the highest economic growth are Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Djibouti.

The relatively stable economic performance of Asia and the Pacific conceals increasing downside risks to regional progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In 2018, the GDP growth rate in Central Africa accelerated slightly, to 2.2 percent from 1.1 percent in 2017, but remained below the African average of 3.5 percent. Central Africa’s growth was driven primarily by the rebound in raw material prices, principally oil.

Overall economic growth in West Africa is projected to be at 3.6 percent in 2019 and 2020, boosted by the recovery of commodity prices and improved production and service sectors in the region, although challenges and uneven performance would remain, the African Development Bank’s regional economic indicator report revealed.

This paper examines the concept of urban clusters and explores its application in South Asia. Drawing lessons from international case studies, it highlights the advantages of clustered urbanization.

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