African economies slowly shrug off recession, but recovery will lag
Economies in Africa will grow by an average of 1.7% in 2009, substantially less than an earlier forecast of 3.5%, the World Bank says. In 2010, things will improve to 2.5%, but this is still way down on an annual average of 5.8% over the last decade. Many African countries rely on mineral resources, including oil and gas, to bulk up their GDP. The devastating collapse of the commodities market, and a more than halving of the oil price since October 2008 has seen countries from Nigeria to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa suffer a sharp constriction in capital flows. China's investment in African infrastructure will help lead the recovery, along with steps taken by the nations themselves. Nigeria’s 2010 budget proposal includes a 32% increase in spending from 2009, to help lift it out of the slump. A third of this is to go to capital spending on infrastructure, the power sector and development in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The continent’s economic powerhouse, South Africa, has just followed the US and Europe out of recession, returning to growth in the third quarter. But the fallout from one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression remains, and the World Bank says Africa will lag other global regions on the road to recovery.
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