- Côte d'Ivoire, whose economy was a regional motor before the war, is seeing a recovery. With relative peace and good world market prices for its cocoa and oil, GDP growth is expected at 3 percent this year, representing real growth in the first time for years.
According to a mission by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visiting Abidjan during the last two weeks, the future is no longer bleak for the Ivorian economy. The mission, headed by the Fund's Arend Kouwenaar, went through all aspects of the national together with Ivorian authorities.
"The economy is continuing its recovery, helped by a favourable international environment for Côte d'Ivoire, including high world market prices for oil and cocoa. Real GDP growth is projected to double to 3 percent in 2008," said Mr Kouwenaar.
Still in 2006, the Ivorian economy shrunk by 0.3 percent. This was before taking into account the country's population growth of around 1.84 percent - putting GDP per capita growth at a negative 2.1 percent. Last year, GDP in Côte d'Ivoire grew by 1.6 percent, which also was less than population growth.
This year's anticipated growth therefore for the fist time in years will translate into GPD per capita growth. Prospects for 2009 - although unsure due to political developments - are even better. The IMF foresees a GDP growth of 5.1 percent in Côte d'Ivoire next year.
However, all is not well and consumers noting a small increase in revenues, will face an estimated 4.7 growth in consumer prices this year. "Rising international food prices have pushed up somewhat domestic inflation," the Fund noted.
Mr Kouwenaar announced that the Fund would try to assist Ivorian authorities in securing the expected positive trends to make sure long-term economic growth could emerge. He said the IMF would "help lay the basis for a comprehensive economic program for 2009-11," hoping this could lead to a full-fledged poverty reduction programme financed by the Fund.
To make sure growth is sustained, the Fund however warned Ivorian authorities against exaggerated spending. So far this year, government had been in control of budgets. "Regarding the execution of the budget in the first months of 2008, expenditures were kept within the budget envelopes and revenues were on target," the Fund noted.
However, the IMF mission expressed "concern about emerging overruns on gas subsidies for the electricity sector and the risk of revenue shortfalls, in part due to delays in the contribution to the budget by the national petroleum company, as well as the risk of renewed accumulation of arrears to domestic suppliers."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.