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January 31, 2009

Farming to bolster Mozambique GDP in 2009

by Ben Hirschler

Mozambique's economy should grow 6.5 to 7.0 percent in 2009 -- similar to last year's level -- as higher agricultural output and steady aid flows offset the global downturn, its prime minister said on January 31.

"This year, the expectation is between 6.5 to 7," Luisa Dias Diogo said on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Why isn't there a big cut? Because more than 36 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) depends on agriculture ... and for this year we foresee a growth of 15 percent for agriculture."

The southern African country is one of the poorest on the continent but has had one of the fastest growing economies over the past decade, following a series of economic reforms.
It has typically shown growth of 8-10 percent, but was hit last year by floods and higher food and oil prices.

The current official growth forecast for 2008 is 6.5 percent but Diogo said she expected this to be revised up slightly to around 6.8 percent when final figures are released next month.
Mozambique still relies heavily on donor aid to fund economic expansion and more than 50 percent of the government's budget depends on foreign aid.

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