South Africa's finance minister has cut the country's economic growth forecast because of the global financial crisis.

Addressing parliament Tuesday, Trevor Manuel predicted the nation's gross domestic product growth for this year to be about 3.7 percent, down from the four percent he predicted in February.

Manuel said growth is likely to slow further, to three percent in 2009, and then increase modestly in 2010 as the world economy begins to recover.

South Africa has seen average GDP growth of five percent each year since 2003.

The finance minister told parliament that the economic "storm has arrived, it is fiercer than anyone could have imagined and its course cannot be predicted." 

But Manuel assured the legislature that the country's finances were in order, its banks are sound and investment plans are in place.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.