United Nations: Stepping up recovery from the global crisis, the African economy grew by five per cent in 2011, but the new spurt will not be enough to significantly cut jobless rates, the UN said.

A report by the UN's Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union on Monday said countries with oil and other in-demand commodities are leading the new expansion.

According to the Economic Report on Africa 2011, the gross domestic product growth rate predicted for the continent was up from 4.7 percent in 2010, when higher commodity prices and demand "propelled a sharp upswing" in exports, which had fallen by 32 percent in 2009.

West Africa and East Africa continued to be the fastest growing regions in 2011.

But the report said the higher 2011 growth rates are below those Africa saw before the 2008-2009 financial and economic crisis. "They also seem to be below the rates needed to significantly reduce the continent's unemployment and poverty."

The UN and AU report again highlighted that Africa's "heavy dependence on natural resource exports poses difficult and persistent problems" in generating growth and making sure it is shared across the continent.

(Agencies)