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African growth to exceed 5pc in 2011/12: IMF

WASHINGTON, Sep 20 – The economy of sub-Saharan Africa will grow by more than five percent this year and next as the region posts a “solid” performance, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

In its latest outlook the IMF said growth would reach 5.2 percent this year and 5.8 percent in 2012.

“The SSA region is showing solid macroeconomic performance, with many economies already growing at rates close to their pre-crisis averages,” said the forecast.

“The global slowdown has not significantly affected the region thus far, but downside risks have risen,” it said.

The figures have been revised down slightly from June however when the forecast stood at 5.5 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

Growth in the region dropped to 2.8 percent in 2009 due to the economic crisis but stood at 5.4 percent last year.

The IMF said most of the region’s low-income countries had been largely shielded from the global financial crisis “owing to their limited integration into global manufacturing and financial networks.”

The IMF meanwhile projected South African growth of 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

It marks a recovery from negative -1.8 percent in 2009 and 2.8 percent last year.

The growth will be driven by private consumption and revived investment, supported by low interest rates and the renewal of mining licences, the IMF said.

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Oil exporting countries such as Nigeria and Angola can hope for an average six percent growth this year, rising to 7.25 percent in 2012, despite lower than projected oil prices.

The forecast reflects the strength in domestic public investment spending in the countries, the IMF said.

Ghana with its newly found oil wealth can expect growth of 13.5 percent this year, while Ivory Coast, recovering from the months-long violence that followed its November elections, received a negative forecast of -5.8 percent.

The IMF said it expected a return to regular economic activity in Ivory Coast in 2012 with a net growth rebound of 8.5 percent.

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