IMF official: world economy to shrink “below zero”

DAR ES SALAAM – At the opening of two-day conference in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominque-Strauss-Kahn told finance minister and central bank governors from across Africa that world economic growth could plunge “below zero” in 2009, according to agencies’ reports.

He termed this report “as the worst performance in most of our lifetimes.”  But at the same time, he called on the international community not to forget Africa, saying the impact on the continent will be severe, the reports said.

In an assessment released before the conference, three factors have worsened the economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa:  a slump in global growth, decline in most commodity prices and stringent credit.

Strauss-Kahn also informed the participants that IMF would open one new technical assistance center in western Africa and another one in southern Africa.

Three such assistance centers are currently in placed in Gabon, Mali and Tanzania to help deliver support.

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