The continued contraction of the Zimbabwean economy stands in sharp contrast to the vigorous expansion which its Sub-Saharan African peers are enjoying, according to the International Monetary Fund's senior representative to Africa.

Top IMF official Sean Nolan said in a briefing in Pretoria, South Africa, that the Fund expects Sub-Saharan growth to exceed 6.5% in 2008. But Zimbabwe is facing a 6.1% contraction this year - the worst slide since its recession began in 2000.

Nolan told reporters that Zimbabwe?s poor showing was bound to have a negative impact on the rest of the region and even the continent as a whole.

But Harare economist John Robertson told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while the country was much diminished as a supplier and a market, some neighbors benefited from the emigration of skilled workers.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...