Briefly: Economist says Africa growing, political risks remain

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JOHANNESBURG — Africa will continue its economic growth next year, but faces increasing threats from continued political instability, youth unemployment and the global recession dragging down oil and commodity prices, a leading economist said Tuesday.

A forecast from the African Development Bank expects 4.5 percent growth across Africa in 2012 and 4.8 percent growth in 2013, with sub-Saharan Africa to grow at an even faster pace, the bank’s chief economist Mthuli Ncube said.

Post-revolution Libya should see its economy grow by 14.8 percent over that period, as normalcy returns and oil exports return to normal levels, he said.

However, the political instability caused by the Arab Spring and other concerns has weighed down the economies of North Africa, particularly Egypt, a report by the bank released Tuesday shows.

And the recent coup in Mali indicates that unrest even in established democracies and other governments remains a possibility across the Sahel region of West Africa, Mr. Ncube said.

“If you overlay [political] exclusion with natural resources, leaders never leave,” Mr. Ncube said. “And if they do leave, they never leave quietly.”

The bank’s forecast also estimates sluggish economic growth from South Africa as well, with 2.9 percent growth in a nation that’s typically a leader on the continent. The government announced Tuesday that the nation’s unemployment rate slightly dropped to 24.9 percent from 25.2 percent.

The World Bank recently pegged South Africa’s growth at 2.5 percent for the coming year, on the back of lower exports and a drop in mining.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Congo says it won’t negotiate with rebels

KINSHASA — The Congolese government says it won’t negotiate with a new rebel movement that is sparking violence in the country’s east.

However, government spokesman Lambert Mende said late Monday that dialogue is possible with neighboring Rwanda, which Congo blames for helping the rebels.

A report by U.N. experts also has accused Rwanda of involvement, which the Rwandan government vigorously denies.

The governor of North Kivu province has said that the Congolese government should re-examine how a 2009 agreement that integrated rebels into the national army is being carried out.

The M23 fighters launched their rebellion earlier this year after accusing the government of failing to hold up their end of that peace deal.

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