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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Center, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), will present on 30 July, 2009, from 9:00 to 12:30, at the TDM Conference Center in Maputo, Mozambique, the ninth edition of the African Economic Outlook (AEO). Representatives of the AfDB, the OECD and the Mozambican Government will be on hand to discuss Africa’s economic performance in the past year, amidst the prevailing global economic crisis.
The 2009 edition of the AEO asserts that Africa has been gravely affected by the global economic downturn. Following half a decade of economic growth averaging over 5 per cent, the continent can expect to achieve only 2.8 per cent in 2009, less than half of the 5.7 per cent expected before the crisis.
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 AEO forecasts, however, that growth will rebound to 4.5 per cent in 2010.
The collapse of commodity prices and plummeting demand from OECD countries will have an adverse effect on Africa’s budgets, with the deficit for 2009 predicted to be around 5.5 per cent of GDP compared to a surplus of 3.4 per cent predicted in the AEO one year ago.
After averaging 8.6 per cent per annum since the beginning of the decade, growth in Mozambique fell to 6.2 per cent in 2008 because of disruptive floods and energy shortages. Growth is expected to drop further to 4 per cent in 2009, as a consequence of the crisis impacting on the world’s demand for commodities, foreign direct investment flows and public investment financed with external assistance. It will rebound to 5.2 per cent in 2010, assuming a partial recovery of the international economy and further expansion of agriculture.
Inflation rose to 10.4 per cent in 2008 because of high food and fuel prices but it is expected to fall in 2009 following the decline in international prices. This situation will be further worsened by higher food prices. Living conditions for a large segment of the population are stagnating, while poverty rates remain high. The government must intensify its efforts, especially during this period of crisis, if the progress achieved in the last decade is to be preserved.
The special focus of the 2009 AEO is Innovation in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Although Africa lags behind other regions in terms of some indicators such as fixed-line telephony, it manages to exploit new technologies and business models to circumvent market inefficiencies and institutional bottlenecks. The number of innovative applications is rising exponentially with e-banking, e-health, e-education and e-government experiencing, in some cases, high levels of success with positive implications for human development.
The AEO is a unique tool combining the expertise of the OECD Development Centre, the AfDB and the UNECA, with generous financial support from the European Commission. The AEO provides comprehensive and comparable data and analysis of 47 African economies, placing the evolution of African economies in the world economic context. Each year the report covers a theme of importance to current developments in Africa.
Distinguished policy makers, private sector representatives, civil society representatives and other participants will be in attendance.
The media are invited to attend.