African economies to expand 4.8 percent in 2010: UN

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

African economies will expand by an average of 4.8 percent in 2010, the UN forecast Monday as a global economic recovery is expected to lift demand for the region's exports.

"The recovery in the global economy is set to push up demand and prices of African exports of goods, in particular minerals and hydrocarbons, and services such as tourism, thus leading to stronger export earnings," the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission said in an annual report.

Foreign direct investments in the continent are also expected to rise this year, helping to revive infrastructure investments put on hold during the financial crisis, it said.

However, it warned that the continent's dependance on commodity exports and low value-added products made it vulnerable to fluctuations in price and demand.

In addition, a slower-than-expected global recovery or a relapse into a downturn would hurt African economies, it said.

African economies posted growth of 2.4 percent in 2009.

In 2010, oil-rich West Africa is expected to be the fastest-growing part of the region with growth averaging 6.4 percent, according to the United Nations.

East Africa's economy is forecast to expand by 5.4 percent, followed by North Africa, 4.8 percent and Central Africa, 4.6 percent.

Southern Africa is expected to record the lowest growth of 3.8 percent.

© 2010 AFP

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