Visualised: 14 years of inflation in Africa

August 12, 2022

Sky high CPI inflation rates are not unusual on the continent, here's how the current crisis compares.

While the world struggles with record breaking inflation rates driven by the invasion of Ukraine, the Covid-19 recovery and the climate crisis, many people living in African countries may feel a weary sense of déjà vu. Double digit inflation numbers are not unusual on the continent, and even the most stable economies regularly go through periods of price pain. 

In the explorer below, we’ve charted inflation data in all countries from 2008 (the year of the international banking crisis) until now. You can select which countries and which inflation indicators you want to view. 14 years of consumer price inflation in Africa

Select a COICOP indicator from the dropdown list, or filter by country or date range.

The data visualised above is taken from the IMF’s database, and supplemented with additional information from Kenya and Uganda where local data is more up-to-date. The whole dataset is available in our repository here. We’ll be adding other sources to this database over the next few months to create the most comprehensive and authoritative data on the continent.

Notice how patterns change over time. In Southern Africa, excluding Zimbabwe, prices tend to rise and fall across borders in sync, suggesting global factors are at play. The larger the peak in any one period, the vulnerable a nation is likely to be to global forces (such as high commodity prices). In other areas, trends are specifically national: Nigeria has a consistently high rate of inflation over time, while hyperinflation in Zimbabwe may have been overshadowed by the Covid-19 crisis, it was exceptional by any standards.

The larger the peak in any one period, the more vulnerable a nation is likely to be to global forces (such as high commodity prices)

If you’d like to view the visualisation offline, we’ve generated a high resolution image that you can download here. 

This is the third in a series of stories about inflation in Africa. If you missed part one in this series, you’ll find it here, and part two is here. We’ll be publishing another way of looking at inflation in Africa in part four of this series next week. Sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to get it when it lands.

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