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Report forecasts '12 Africa growth of 4.5%

ARUSHA, Tanzania -- The African economy should grow 4.5 percent this year after recovering from the impact of the 2009 global economic crisis and the 2011 North African revolts, experts predicted in a report Monday.

“Africa's economy should see a rebound in 2012 after popular uprisings and political unrest brought overall economic growth to 3.4 percent in 2011,” the report read, made public at the start of the AfDB annual meeting in Tanzania.

“The continent is recovering from the global crisis of 2009 and this should be sustained even though a new global slowdown is constraining Africa's growth,” it added.

“With the gradual recovery of North African economies, Africa's average growth is expected to rebound to 4.5 percent in 2012 and to 4.8 percent in 2O13.”

However, sub-Saharan Africa has an annual population growth rate of 2.2 percent, according to the UN population fund, outpacing economic gains in many nations.

The report was drawn up by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations' Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the U.N. development agency UNDP.

“While keeping an eye on new economic storm clouds in Europe, Africa must keep its focus on reforms that encourage growth and ease social tensions that set off the Arab revolutions and caused North Africa's GDP growth to decline by 3.6 percentage points to near stagnation in 2011,” the report said.

The report noted that the African continent continues to benefit from relatively high growth in emerging economies, such as China and India, which have become increasingly important for Africa's trade and investment.

But it warned that “while this is helping Africa to be more resilient, these countries cannot fully compensate for the adverse effects from advanced countries and their expansion has recently also slowed.”

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