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Zimbabwe FM forecasts higher economic growth

HARARE, Sept 24 – Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe\’s economy will grow by 8.1 percent this year on the back of increased tobacco production, up from his previous forecast of 5.4 percent reports said Friday.

"In the mid-term budget, we announced that we had revised our projected growth rate from 7.7 percent to 5.4 percent in July because of slow performance of the economy in the first half of the year," state-run daily, The Herald quoted Biti.

"I am pleased to advise a major rebound in the second half of the year. Growth projections for December 2010 would be 8.1 percent because of a serious rebound in agriculture."

Biti singled out the tobacco crop, the report said.

Zimbabwe\’s tobacco selling season ended early this month with a record 122 million kilogrammes having been sold.

This years\’ crop output surpassed the initial 77 million kilogrammes anticipated at the start of the year.

According to government estimates, tobacco accounts for more than 50 percent of agricultural exports — which translates to about 30 percent of Zimbabwe\’s total exports.

Zimbabwe\’s economy is showing signs of recovery since the formation of a power-sharing government between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The southern Africa country\’s economy grew by 4.7 percent last year, ending 12 years of contraction.

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