AfDB sees falling African growth, rising unrest

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African growth will fall to around 3.5 percent this year down from an earlier estimate of 4 percent, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Monday, warning of rising unrest as credit dries up for governments and consumers.
“In 2009, growth will be around 3.5 percent which means in real per capita terms, that is zero because population is growing,” AfDB President Donald Kaberuka told Reuters in an interview.
“Now you have to contrast that with what has happened in the past 10 years with real GDP growth of 6-7 percent.”
African countries had hoped to tap international capital markets by issuing Eurobonds but Kaberuka said the global financial crisis had made that impossible in the near future.
He said there were also signs microcredit for the continent’s poorest — which had proved resilient in the early stages of the global credit crunch — was now drying up at street level.
Kaberuka said he feared rising social unrest particularly in densely packed urban areas.
He added that the bank’s economists had forecast growth in 2010 of 4.5 percent but that given uncertainties over the global economy, that could easily change.