IMF sees growth for African economies

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Sub-Saharan Africa is riding out the global economic slowdown well, an IMF report released on Wednesday said, with growth across the region expected to approach 6.0 percent in 2012.

The IMF indicated that though poor households were hit hard by the rising food and fuel prices, and famine in the Horn of Africa, most low income countries have been resisting well against the global slowdown.

But the International Monetary Fund warned of inflationary risks amid solid expected growth and the dangers of a sustained global slowdown.

"Policies need to tread a fine line between addressing the challenges posed by strong growth and preparing to ward off the potentially adverse effects of another global downturn," said Antoinette Monsio Sayeh, director of the IMF African department.

"At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa needs to continue to invest in growth and employment, which are critical for sustained poverty reduction," Sayeh said.

Among middle income countries, the report painted a cautious picture of the South African economy, with its high jobless rate, projecting that growth would be "limited to at most 3 and a half percent" in 2011.

South Africa's economy fell into recession in the last quarter of 2008, but it lasted only nine months and was relatively mild compared to the economic downturn experienced in wealthier countries.

The recession was the first in 17 years, ending a period of prolonged growth since the end of white-minority apartheid rule.

Unemployment currently stands at 25.7 percent, but that counts only those actively seeking work, and does not capture the full extent of the jobless problem.

The South African government has promised to create five million jobs by 2020.

© 2011 AFP

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