Angola + 2 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 10 January

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News and Press Release
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Originally published
MOZAMBIQUE: Opposition backs off boycott
Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, at the weekend dropped a threat to boycott the newly elected parliament, saying it would press demands from inside the assembly for a recount of votes cast in last month's general elections.

Media reports said the ruling FRELIMO party of president Joaquim Chissano had ruled out any negotiations with the former rebel movement over the election. RENAMO had claimed that FRELIMO had committed fraud, but it lost an appeal in the supreme court. Chissano won 52.29 percent of the presidential vote and RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama, the only other contestant, 47.71 percent. FRELIMO won 133 of the country's 250 parliamentary seats against 117 to Renamo.

MALAWI: Economic improvement forecast

Malawi's chief banker on Monday forecast a leap in economic growth in 2000, fuelled by improved relations with western donors and fiscal belt-tightening by the government of President Bakili Muluzi.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Matthews Chikaonda, was quoted in news reports as saying he estimated real gross domestic product (GDP) would expand by 6.7 percent in 2000, after coming in at 3.3 percent in 1999. Sustained growth at that level would improve the lives of Malawi's 10 million people, the majority of whom live below the World Bank poverty threshold of one dollar a day. Chikaonda saw a continued fall in overall inflation, which ended 1999 at 28.3 percent versus 57 percent in 1998.

ANGOLA: Floods destroy crops in Benguela

Floods caused by heavy rains in west Angola's Benguela province have destroyed 2,000 ha of farm land after the Coporolo River burst its banks in recent days, official Angolan news reports said on Monday.

Manuel Monteiro, chairman of the Benguela Farmers' Association, said he had expected a yield of about 12,000 mt of maize, but it had all been lost. Although no lives had been lost in the flooding, officials expressed concern for the plight of an estimated 14,000 people displaced by the war now camped in the lower Coporolo region.

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