The annual African Economic Outlook (AEO) is published jointly by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, with support from the European Commission. The 2009 Outlook covers 47 African countries, up from 35 last year. The report finds the region gravely affected by the global economic downturn. Following half a decade of above 5 per cent economic growth, the continent can expect only 2.8 per cent in 2009, less than half of the 5.7 per cent expected before the crisis. The AEO’s authors anticipate growth rebounding to 4.5 per cent in 2010. Growth in oil-exporting countries is expected to fall to 2.4 per cent in 2009 compared to 3.3 per cent for the net oil importers. The 2009 AEO has a special focus on innovations in information and communication technologies (ICTs). It concludes that despite low penetration rates for new technologies, innovative applications of ICT have been proliferating to areas such as e-banking, e-payments, e-agriculture, e-trade, e-government and e-education. Many of these new tools are helping to shape an improved business environment by contributing to market development, overcoming traditional infrastructure constraints and reducing business costs.