Hopes are high for faster growth this year as G8 countries
promise more backing for Africa
Off to a strong start, 2005 is set to be both eventful and decisive for Africa's economies. Firstly, the International Monetary Fund is forecasting gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.8 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa which, if achieved, would be the highest for three decades (see Box). That is just one of several positive indicators - such as farm production, investment and inflation - on African economies this year. To mark Britain's decision to make 2005 'Africa's year' - coinciding with London's simultaneous chairing of the Group of Eight (G-8) and presidency of the European Union - Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown set out on 12 January on a six-day African odyssey, taking in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. He bore pledges of a billion dollars of debt relief and calls for a Marshall Plan for Africa.
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