News / Economy

IMF Sees Continued Growth for China, Sub-Saharan Africa

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Asia Pacific Director Anoop Singh, October 2009. (File)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Asia Pacific Director Anoop Singh, October 2009. (File)
The Eurozone crisis continues to weigh heavily on the global economy. But there are relative bright spots, such as China and sub-Saharan Africa, as reported at the annual joint meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Tokyo.

The IMF predicts China's growth will return to above eight percent next year.

The IMF's Asia-Pacific region director, Anoop Singh, acknowledges there are concerns China's real estate bubble could burst and water down such growth.

"Obviously that is a downside risk. But our sense is that is a remote possibility. China is not having a hard landing," said Singh.

The troubles in single-currency Europe are hurting demand for exports from China and India, as well as other countries in the Asia region.

Overall, growth in Asia is expected to be 5.9 percent next year, down from an earlier IMF forecast of 6.6 percent. But that is still high enough for Asia's economy to remain the world's fastest growing.

Another region, known more for its poverty than robust economic growth, is also enjoying a brighter outlook. It is sub-Saharan Africa, where the IMF reports the near-term outlook  “remains broadly positive” with growth projected above five percent over the next year.

It would be at least one percent higher if not for the shock from the Eurozone, says the director of the IMF's Africa department, Antoinette Monsio Sayeh.

“International commodity prices have remained relatively strong to date providing, of course, support for natural resource exporters in the region," she said. "And, secondly, domestic demand has provided solid support to growth, helped by both public and private investments. And private investments have been linked to the natural resource production in the region which has been expanding in a number of countries."

But Sayeh warns rising food prices pose a serious threat in some countries, such as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

Nigerian development economist Edith Jibunoh, a director at the advocacy group One (co-founded by the rock star Bono), says sub-Saharan Africa's growth is not inclusive and a lot of people are getting left behind.

"So when you disaggregate the numbers you start to see some very disheartening situations," she said. "Infrastructure deficits on the continent are still humongous. There's not even a third of the amount of money that needs to be invested in infrastructure getting spent on an annual basis."

That gap every year, Jibunoh says, totals $40 billion.

The IMF, meanwhile, is suggesting African policy makers reduce national budgets, especially household subsidies for fuel and electricity, and use that money to help sustain growth amid the international economic slowdown.

Benno Ndulu, governor of the Bank of Tanzania,  says the 45-nation region can buffer itself from a recession caused by the second-wave of the Euro shock by building inter-regional trade.

Ndulu also is floating another idea he acknowledges is controversial.

“Let's still look at the possibility of reserve pooling options to exploit the differences in the exposure to risks across our countries," said Ndulu. "Not all of us suffer the same type of risks. Not all commodities suffer price declines at the same time. And we should  be able, I think, to pool risks. It takes probably very strong political decisions to get to that stage."

The region's largest nation, South Africa, which is more integrated with the global economy than its neighbors, is forecast to experience growth of just 1.6 percent next year. The nation is struggling with labor unrest and high unemployment.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.