|ACP to register 5,2 percent growth|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2012 20:59|
THE African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of countries is expected to register an average growth of 5,2 percent this year as most economies shrug off the effects of global recession. Economies in this region are said to be recovering from earlier slumps while others have remained hamstrung by the effects of the global economic crisis.
This has resulted in Diaspora remittances being reduced drastically while earnings from tourism have also taken a dip.
In his report on the state of the ACP region’s economies here yesterday, secretary-general Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas painted a positive picture of economic development against real worries in such economies as the United States, Asia and Latin America.
“ACPs are recovering from global recession,” he told the ACP Council of Ministers meeting that began here on Monday.
Growth in Africa is expected to exceed 5,4 percent, compared with 5 percent in 2011 while the Pacific Islands will grow by 6 percent, a slight decrease from 7 percent in 2011.
The Caribbean is projected to achieve a 3,5 percent rise, with concerns about rising debt and lower revenue due to falling remittances and earnings from tourism.
For Africa, drought and the resultant food crisis, particularly in East Africa, and growing youth unemployment are some of the challenges impeding on growth.
But African countries dominate the list of the fastest growing economies between 2011 and 2015, with Ethiopia achieving the highest growth at 8,1 percent, Mozambique 7,7 percent, Tanzania 7,2 percent, Congo 7 percent, Zambia 6,9 percent and Nigeria 6,8 percent.
The other three countries in the top 10 list are China, at 9,5 percent, India 8,2 percent and Vietnam 7,2 percent.
Zimbabwe, which is expected to grow by 9,4 percent this year, up from last year’s 9,4 percent and 8,1 percent in 2010, does not feature on the list.
In 2011, Angola was the best performing economy in the world, at 11,1 percent, followed by China at 10,5 percent, according to statistics released by the International Monetary Fund.
Africa has surpassed the emerging economies of Asia in terms of GDP growth and this is expected to continue over the next five years.
In the Pacific Islands, Papa New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are expected to slow down to 7,1 percent from 8,9 percent last year and to 6 percent from 9,3 percent respectively.
Strong prospects in Vanuatu, Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa are expected to leverage the region.
But Dr Chambas said rising debts in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Naru remained of concern.
Improving political prospects in most of the ACP countries would also augur well for the economies.
“Democracy is taking firm root in the ACP,” said Dr Chambas.
The tenets of democracy were “firmly embedded” in the Caribbean while improvements were noted in Africa and the Pacific Islands.
Successful elections and transition in Senegal, Malawi and Lesotho were encouraging, he said.
The ACP would increase its visibility on the global stage through participation at such forums as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Doha trade conferences and continuous work on Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations with the European Union.
The future remained bright for the ACP, the largest grouping of developing economies.
Of concern here is the need for the group to focus on its core competencies while repositioning the secretariat as an intergovernmental organisation “that does more than the role of mere convener of conferences and meetings”
Challenges such as the dangers posed by climate change and the need to create jobs for the growing youth population would need to be tackled.
The Council of Ministers meeting is expected to deliberate on such issues as the future of ACP-EU dialogue in view of the Cotonou Agreement that expires in 2020, development finance co-operation, ACP-EU dialogue and migration and the ACP Council of Ministers Draft Resolution on the Rio+20 meeting.
South Sudan is also expected to become a new member of the ACP. The ACP Council of Ministers meeting precedes the 37th session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers meeting that begins here tomorrow.