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Vol 43 No 2

Published 25th January 2002

Bear markets

The rich world's recession hits Africa's prospects but reform goes slowly on

For many Africans, the new year confirms the most pessimistic forecasts of economic gloom. Nigerians face a 50 per cent increase in fuel prices, South Africans must cope with a currency crash, Zimbabweans are seriously short of maize. The backdrop is sluggish or falling economic growth in Europe, the United States and Asia, cutting demand for the goods that form 80 per cent of Africa's exports. Oil is expected to drop by 34 per cent, other commodities by 6 per cent; even gold stays low. The usually optimistic International Monetary Fund and World Bank have downgraded their forecasts.

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