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Vol 51 No 2

Published 22nd January 2010

A slow return to growth

Africa suffered less than had been feared from the recession and its exports are set to recover this year thanks to buoyant demand from Asia

As the industrialised world struggles, a return to fast-growing commodity demand from Asia and a tentative Western recovery will boost African exports in 2010, although trade and budget deficits will persist in many countries. Not nearly enough progress will be achieved on the continent's biggest economic blights - unemployment and the high food prices that benefit only a few exporting countries. The worst effects of the global slowdown were averted in 2009 thanks to swift intervention by governments, central banks and international financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) trebled its concessional loans to US$3 billion, shared between countries with short-term difficulties, such as Congo-Brazzaville ($200 million), Ethiopia ($240 mn.) and Tanzania ($340 mn.), and longer-term finance for countries like Côte d'Ivoire ($560 mn.) and Ghana ($600 mn.).

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