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African econ growth good but not still enough -IMF

Written by: Staff
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SINGAPORE, Sep 14 (Reuters) African economies are set to grow faster than the global average for a third straight year in 2006 and accelerate in 2007, but the gap between oil exporters and oil importers could grow too, the IMF said on Thursday.

In its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund forecast African growth of 5.4 percent this year and 5.9 percent in 2007.

It predicted growth of 5.2 percent and 6.3 percent in 2006 and 2007, respectively, for sub-Saharan Africa.

South African growth is expected to continue to slacken. The fund predicted an expansion of 4.2 percent in 2006 and 4.0 percent in 2007. The economy grew 4.9 percent in 2005.

The IMF said oil exporters were expected to show collective growth of 6.7 percent in 2006 and 9.1 percent in 2007 but that oil importers' growth would be 4.8 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

It also said sub-Saharan growth, while strong, would not be enough to meet the so-called Millennium Development Goals for halving poverty by 2015 as well as combatting diseases such as malaria.

''The improved growth performance in sub-Saharan Afrian in recent years is very welcome, but it still falls well short of the 7 percent annual growth needed,'' the IMF said.

REUTERS VJ PM0826

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