World growth still too slow to generate jobs: IMF official

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The world economy is still not growing fast enough to generate jobs for tens of millions who have become unemployed, but it is strengthening gradually, a top IMF official said Wednesday.

While global growth is seen at 3.3 per cent this year and an even better 4 per cent next year, this masks significant divergence in prospects, said Mr Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The world is seeing a "three-speed" global recovery without "enough growth to generate jobs for the millions who have fallen into unemployment over the past five years", Mr Shinohara told a gathering of diplomats and business people.

Creating jobs must be "an overarching issue" as it goes to the heart of the global economic crisis that is "falling disproportionately on young people", he emphasised in a speech in New Delhi coinciding with May Day.

The address by Mr Shinohara, a former Japanese finance ministry official, came amid May Day protests in Greece over a government austerity programme. On Tuesday, figures showed European unemployment hit a new record of over 19 million in March.

"The best performing economies are in the emerging and developing countries, with Asia expected to grow by an average 7.1 per cent this year and sub-Saharan Africa forecast to expand by 5.6 per cent," Mr Shinohara said.

Other nations are on the mend such as the United States, seen expanding by 2 per cent this year. But there are those which still have a significant distance to go such as the euro area where growth is expected to shrink this year, he said.