African economies to grow 4.8 percent in 2010: UN

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The UN forecast on Monday that African economies would grow by an average of 4.8 percent in 2010 as a global 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.

The report on Africa also said that foreign direct investment in the continent was expected to rise this year, helping to revive infrastructure investments which were put on hold during the global financial crisis.

However, the report 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 added.

African economies posted growth of 2.4 percent in 2009.

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

East Africa would expand 5.4 percent, followed by North Africa on 4.8 percent and Central Africa on 4.6 percent.

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

© 2010 AFP

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