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African Economy to Strengthen in 2015 despite Ebola, Oil Price Drop

Africa's overall economy should advance in 2015, expanding by 4.5 percent, showing resilience despite weak commodity prices and the devastating Ebola epidemic, an annual report published Monday said. 

And future growth could be spurred by the continent's population doubling to two billion over the next 35 years, repeating in Africa the economic boom seen in Asia's biggest countries.

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Fukushima Operator Wins Qatar Utility Contract

The operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has jointly won a large power and water infrastructure contract in the desert state of Qatar, it said Monday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp have been selected by a company backed by the Qatari government to build and operate power and water plants for 25 years, in a project worth some $2.5 billion.

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Horn of Africa's Djibouti Dreams of Becoming 'New Dubai'

For years the Horn of Africa nation Djibouti was seen by foreign powers as a far-flung military outpost overlooking the Gulf of Aden.

Now the strategic port wants to capitalize on its key position on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, the gateway to the Suez canal.

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Leader Says Mideast Pays Price for Gender Gap

Bring more Arab women into the workforce, invest in "bite-sized" infrastructure projects and get the private sector more involved in training young job seekers — these are the prescriptions of a leading Gulf entrepreneur for growing Middle Eastern economies and combating rampant youth unemployment.

Decision-makers long seemed paralyzed by the sheer size of the troubled region's economic problems, but attitudes have changed in recent years, said Omar Kutayba Alghanim, co-chairman of this week's regional World Economic Forum conference and a leader of private sector efforts to tackle youth unemployment.

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Brazil Unveils Cuts as IMF Urges Fiscal Discipline

The IMF urged Brazil to get its fiscal house in order to emerge from five years of low growth as South America's largest economy Friday unveiled a package of budget cuts in a move to kickstart a recovery.

Brazil has lost ground since a period of high growth largely fueled by Chinese-led demand for commodities came to an end and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts GDP will contract by around 1.0 percent this year.

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Japan, S. Korea Financial Chiefs Resume Talks amid Diplomatic Row

Japan and South Korea on Saturday held the first dialogue of their financial chiefs in two and a half years, agreeing to improve economic ties despite diplomatic frictions between the two Asian countries.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and his South Korean counterpart Choi Kyung-Hwan held a one-day meeting in Tokyo, the first since November 2012 and since conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December that year.

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Bank of England Admits to Researching 'Brexit' Risks

The Bank of England revealed Friday that it is researching the economic risks of Britain leaving the European Union, just as Prime Minister David Cameron began negotiations with EU leaders ahead of a referendum on membership.

The central bank study, which could have a major impact on the debate over Britain's future within the bloc, was due to remain confidential but details were accidentally emailed to an editor at The Guardian newspaper.

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China-Backed Infrastructure Bank Operational by End-2015

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be operational by the end of this year, prospective founding members said Friday after a three-day meeting in Singapore to discuss policies. 

The chief negotiators' meeting involving the AIIB's 57 prospective members "concluded discussions and finalized the articles of agreement for the AIIB," said a statement by the bank's interim multilateral secretariat. 

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Merkel Says Still 'a Lot to Do' for Greek Debt Deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday there was still a lot of work needed to reach agreement with Greece on its debt bailout, as tortuous talks drag on amid fears Athens could run out of money.

The government of Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is locked in talks to obtain fresh funding with international creditors who are demanding more tough austerity measures in return.

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Australia Urged to Fix Transport Systems or Face Gridlock

Australia must pour more money into transport systems or risk gridlock in its biggest cities costing more than Aus$53 billion (U.S.$42 billion) a year, an infrastructure audit published Friday found.

Road congestion across Australia's six largest cities, particularly in Sydney, cost the vast country some Aus$13.7 billion in 2011, the Infrastructure Australia report said.

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