IMF sees sub-Saharan Africa growth at 5.7 percent in 2014

ACCRA Tue May 14, 2013 8:29am EDT

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ACCRA (Reuters) - The IMF on Tuesday forecast economic growth of 5.4 percent in 2013 and 5.7 percent in 2014 for the economies of sub-Saharan Africa on the back of rising investment and booming extractive industries.

"Sub-Saharan Africa will be among the fastest growing places in the world ... second only to developing Asia," Antoinette Sayeh, director of the IMF's Africa department, told journalists at the report's release in Ghana's capital Accra.

In April, the International Monetary Fund had forecast sub-Saharan Africa's growth at 5.6 percent for this year and 6.1 percent for 2014 in its World Economic Outlook.

The regional outlook released on Tuesday explained that the discrepancy in growth figures was due to the exclusion of South Sudan's volatile economy from the Fund's latest calculations.

Despite a global economic slowdown in 2012, most African economies grew at around 5 percent, buoyed by strong internal demand and higher commodity prices.

The report stated that GDP growth in countries categorized as middle income would be slower than in poorer nations, with the region's largest economy South Africa recovering only gradually from a weak 2012.

Inflation on the continent, which fell to 7.9 percent in 2012 from 10 percent the previous year, will continue its downward trend in 2013 and 2014, said Sayah.

The slowdown in inflation reflects factors including a tightening of monetary policy as well as improved weather in East Africa and West Africa's arid Sahel region, which lowered food production costs, the report said.

(This story has been corrected to clarify that forecast has not been trimmed)

(Editing by Joe Bavier, John Stonestreet)

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