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DEFINITION of 'Lion economies'

A nickname given to Africa's growing economies, which had a collective GDP of $1.6 trillion in 2008, close to Russia's or Brazil's. Key sectors contributing to Africa's collective GDP growth include natural resources, retail, agriculture, finance, transportation and telecommunications. Improvements in political stability and economic reforms have aided growth. (For more, see: Why You Should Pay Attention To Africa Right Now.)

BREAKING DOWN 'Lion economies'

The International Monetary Fund estimates that sub-Saharan Africa’s economies will grow by 5.4% in 2014 and by 5.8% percent in 2015. Nigeria’s economy, Africa’s largest, could grow at about 7.1% a year through 2030, according to McKinsey & Co.

As big as Africa's collective GDP is and as fast as it's growing, Africa-only mutual funds or ETFs are rare. The sole continent-wide ETF, the GDP-weighted Market Vectors Africa ETF (AFK), invests in South Africa (22%), Nigeria (18%), Egypt (17%), Morocco (9%) and Kenya (2%).

See also: Tiger Economy; Tiger Cub Economies; Celtic Tiger; Four Asian Tigers; and other 'tiger' variants.

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