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IMF Predicts Economic Progress in Sub-Saharan Africa

The International Monetary Fund says the rate of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rise slightly next year.

In a regional outlook report released Wednesday, the IMF predicted the growth rate will rise from more than 5 percent this year to nearly 6 percent in 2012.

The IMF said that overall, low-income countries in Africa have faired well in the face of the global economic downturn but said the impact has been uneven.

The fund said poor households have been hard hit by rising food and fuel prices, and noted the Horn of Africa has been devastated by the region's drought and famine.

The IMF predicted lower economic growth of 3.5 percent for Africa's largest economy, South Africa, where it said unemployment remains "stubbornly" high.

However, the fund said the continent's top oil-producing countries, which include Nigeria and Angola, have reaped benefits from high oil prices. The economies in those countries are expected to grow by about 7.5 percent this year.