Manuel paints bleak picture of unemployment

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced that the first wave of unemployment has hit Africa. He...

Former finance minister, Trevor Manuel, is announced as Minister of the new National Planning Committee. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced that the first wave of unemployment has hit <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on"><?xml:namespace prefix="u1"?><place u2:st="on">Africa.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

He attributed the drop to foreign investors either pulling out of <place w:st="on">Africa or scaling down operations.

Manuel was speaking at the first-ever meeting of the African Committee of 10 in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on"><city u2:st="on"><place u2:st="on">Cape Town on Friday.

He said African countries had encountered significant fiscal pressures as their revenue sources dried up.

He added that expenditure for basic levels of service provision were increasing, putting strain on third world economies.

While export markets grew slightly, consumer demand dropped because of financial constraints.

The minister said tourism had also taken a knock and <place u2:st="on"><place w:st="on">Africa had still not recovered from food and fuel price hikes last year.

Manuel called for closer African collaboration to bring about more economic equity.