crisis 'is knocking Africa'

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Finance Minister pravin Gordhan. Pic: Elizabeth Sejake. Circa July 2009. © The Times.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Finance Minister pravin Gordhan. Pic: Elizabeth Sejake. Circa July 2009. © The Times.

AFRICAN countries have taken a severe knock from the global economic crisis and some of the financial commitments to help the continent have not materialised, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday.

AFRICAN countries have taken a severe knock from the global economic crisis and some of the financial commitments to help the continent have not materialised, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday.

Gordhan told a conference to discuss the World Development Report 2009 that only about 10 to 15 countries on the continent had the capacity to implement counter-cyclical responses to help them weather the crisis.

"Developing countries are still being severely impacted and, in Africa in particular, low-income countries depending on mineral products such as diamonds and copper are taking a severe knock."

He said economic growth in some African countries had "gone into the deep negative figures" and fiscal deficits ranged from 10 to 15percent, constraining most countries' ability to respond meaningfully to the crisis.

The report, themed Reshaping Economic Geography, says one of Africa's biggest disadvantages is its long distance from global markets. It says regional integration, investment in trade, communication and transport infrastructure should remain high on Africa's agenda.

Gordhan said although developed nations had committed funds to help Africa deal with the global crisis, the money had not yet materialised in most cases.

"We acknowledge the important strides that were made at the London G20 summit and the fact that a number of commitments have been made, some of which have materialised.

"The expectations we have about these commitments materialising faster are certainly commitments that have not been fulfilled yet."

A meeting of African finance ministers and central bank governors in Abuja this week called for "a greater sense of urgency in terms of commitments made by the G8". - Reuters

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