By Amaka Agwuegbo
The African Development Bank president, Donald Kaberuka, has said that the continentâ€™s economy is expected to expand 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent in 2010 as the global financial crisis abates and demand for commodities grows.
Speaking at a meeting of a panel of finance ministry and central bank officials from 10 African countries that was set up in 2008 to consider ways of mitigating the effect of the global recession, Kaberuka expressed hope that Africaâ€™s economy is likely to grow between 6 per cent and 6.5 per cent in 2011.
The panel is also considering how African countries can increase their clout in institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.
â€œThe forecasts are more optimistic the International Monetary Fundâ€™s predictions. Although this recession has been a major setback for many countries, much of has avoided the worst effect of the recession and I look at 2010 much more optimistically.
â€œThere has been minimal movement in the IMF and the World Bank,â€ South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told reporters. â€œThe developed countries have to make up their minds and take a step back and allow the developing countries a bigger voice. Thatâ€™s the bottom line.â€
Funding provided by the IMF to help African countries cope with the global crisis has mainly been in the form of balance- of-payments support and hasnâ€™t compensated for a decline in tax revenue, Kaberuka said.â€œThese resources are not support for the budget,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s not money that can be used for schools, for clinics, for roads.â€