Short Overview of African Countries
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. All the countries in the list besides the Algeria situated in the south Africa. The rule is that the South Africa is poorer then the North. Though there is some exceptions Botswana
($3240), South African Republic ($3240).
. I try to select the countries which indicators are representing the picture of southern part. Some of the other countries have the indicators lower then mentioned,Burundi ($120), Malawi
($180), Sierra Leone ($ 130) and the other higher, Seychelles
($6500), Gabon ($ 3300), South African Republic.
As it can be easily seen Algeria and Botswana per capita GDP is 3 – 6
times higher then the average on Africa. Some others have 2-6 times lower.
In order to explain these exceptions one must consider the particularities of the countries. That’s why I’m bringing short overviews of the mentioned countries followed by some generalizations.
Algeria. The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 52% of budget revenues, 25% of GDP, and over 95% of
export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in
the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks fourteenth for
oil reserves. Algiers' efforts to reform one of the most centrally planned
economies in the Arab world stalled in 1992 as the country became embroiled
in political turmoil. Burdened with a heavy foreign debt, Algiers concluded
a one-year standby arrangement with the IMF in April 1994 and the following
year signed onto a three-year extended fund facility which ended 30 April
1998. Some progress on economic reform, Paris Club debt reschedulings in
1995 and 1996, and oil and gas sector expansion contributed to a recovery in growth since 1995. Still, the economy remains heavily dependent on volatile oil and gas revenues. The government has continued efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, but has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards.
Angola. Angola is an economy in disarray because of a quarter century
of nearly continuous warfare. Despite its abundant natural resources, output per capita is among the world's lowest. Subsistence agriculture
provides the main livelihood for 85% of the population. Oil production and
the supporting activities are vital to the economy, contributing about 45%
to GDP and 90% of exports. Notwithstanding the signing of a peace accord in
November 1994, violence continues, millions of land mines remain, and many farmers are reluctant to return to their fields. As a result, much of the country's food must still be imported. To take advantage of its rich resources - gold, diamonds, extensive forests, Atlantic fisheries, and large oil deposits - Angola will need to implement the peace agreement and reform government policies. Despite the increase in the pace of civil warfare in late 1998, the economy grew by an estimated 4% in 1999. The government introduced new currency denominations in 1999. Expanded oil production brightens prospects for 2000, but internal strife discourages investment outside of the petroleum sector.
Botswana. Agriculture still provides a livelihood for more than 80% of
the population but supplies only about 50% of food needs and accounts for
only 3% of GDP. Subsistence farming and cattle raising predominate. The
sector is plagued by erratic rainfall and poor soils. Diamond mining and
tourism also are important to the economy. Substantial mineral deposits
were found in the 1970s and the mining sector grew from 25% of GDP in 1980
to 38% in 1998. Unemployment officially is 21% but unofficial estimates
place it closer to 40%. The Orapa 2000 project, which will double the
capacity of the country's main diamond mine, will be finished in early
2000. This will be the main force behind continued economic expansion.
Cameroon. Because of its oil resources and favorable agricultural
conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity
economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious
problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as a top-heavy civil
service and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise. Since
1990, the government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, improve trade, and recapitalize the nation's banks. The government, however, has failed to press forward vigorously with these programs. The latest enhanced structural adjustment agreement was signed in October 1997; the parties hope this will prove more successful, yet government mismanagement and corruption remain problems. Inflation has been brought back under control. Progress toward privatization of remaining state industry should support continued economic growth in 2000.
Chad. Landlocked Chad's economic development suffers from it's
geographic remoteness, drought, lack of infrastructure, and political
turmoil. About 85% of the population depends on agriculture, including the
herding of livestock. Of Africa's Francophone countries, Chad benefited
least from the 50% devaluation of their currencies in January 1994.
Financial aid from the World Bank, the African Development Fund, and other sources is directed largely at the improvement of agriculture, especially livestock production. Due to lack of financing, the development of the Doba
Basin oil fields, originally due to finish in 2000, has been substantially delayed.
Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire). The economy of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The new government instituted a tight fiscal policy that initially curbed inflation and currency depreciation, but these small gains were quickly reversed when the foreign- backed rebellion in the eastern part of the country began in August 1998.
The war has dramatically reduced government revenue, and increased external debt. Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict and because of increased government harassment and restrictions. Poor infrastructure, an uncertain legal framework, corruption, and lack of openness in government economic policy and financial operations remain a brake on investment and growth. A number of
IMF and World Bank missions have met with the new government to help it develop a coherent economic plan but associated reforms are on hold.
Assuming moderate peace, annual growth is likely to increase to nearly 5% in 2000-01, but inflation will continue to be a problem.
Djibouti. The economy is based on service activities connected with
the country's strategic location and status as a free trade zone in
northeast Africa. Two-thirds of the inhabitants live in the capital city
(Djibouty), the remainder being mostly nomadic herders. Scanty rainfall limits crop production to fruits and vegetables, and most food must be imported. Djibouti provides services as both a transit port for the region and an international transshipment and refueling center. It has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of 40% to 50% continues to be a major problem. Inflation is not a concern, however, because of the fixed tie of the franc to the US dollar. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% over the last seven years because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees).
Also, renewed fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea has disturbed normal external channels of commerce. Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen in arrears on long-term external debt and has been struggling to meet the stipulations of foreign aid donors.
Ghana Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has twice the per
capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. Even so, Ghana
remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical
assistance. Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign
exchange. The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence
agriculture, which accounts for 40% of GDP and employs 60% of the work
force, mainly small landholders. In 1995-97, Ghana made mixed progress
under a three-year structural adjustment program in cooperation with the
IMF. On the minus side, public sector wage increases and regional peacekeeping commitments have led to continued inflationary deficit financing, depreciation of the cedi (national currency), and rising public discontent with Ghana's austerity measures. A rebound in gold prices is likely to push growth over 5% in 2000-01.
Kenya. Kenya is well placed to serve as an engine of growth in East
Africa, but its economy is stagnating because of poor management and uneven commitment to reform. In 1993, the government of Kenya implemented a program of economic liberalization and reform that included the removal of import licensing, price controls, and foreign exchange controls. With the support of the World Bank, IMF, and other donors, the reforms led to a brief turnaround in economic performance following a period of negative growth in the early 1990s. Kenya's real GDP grew 5% in 1995 and 4% in 1996, and inflation remained under control. Growth slowed in 1997-99 however.
Political violence damaged the tourist industry, and Kenya's Enhanced
Structural Adjustment Program lapsed due to the government's failure to maintain reform or address public sector corruption. A new economic team was put in place in 1999 to revitalize the reform effort, strengthen the civil service, and curb corruption, but wary donors continue to question the government's commitment to sound economic policy. Long-term barriers to development include electricity shortages, the government's continued and inefficient dominance of key sectors, endemic corruption, and the country's high population growth rate.
Lesotho. Small, landlocked, and mountainous, Lesotho's only important
natural resource is water. Its economy is based on subsistence agriculture, livestock, and remittances from miners employed in South Africa. The number
of such mine workers has declined steadily over the past several years. In
1996 their remittances added about 33% to GDP compared with the addition of roughly 67% in 1990. A small manufacturing base depends largely on farm products which support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries.
Agricultural products are exported primarily to South Africa. Proceeds from membership in a common customs union with South Africa form the majority of government revenue. Although drought has decreased agricultural activity over the past few years, completion of a major hydropower facility in
January 1998 now permits the sale of water to South Africa, generating royalties that will be an important source of income for Lesotho. The pace of parastatal privatization has increased in recent years. Civil disorder in September 1998 destroyed 80% of the commercial infrastructure in Maseru and two other major towns. Most firms were not covered by insurance, and the rebuilding of small and medium business has been a significant challenge in terms of both economic growth and employment levels. Output dropped 10% in 1998 and recovered slowly in 1999.
Mozambique. Before the peace accord of October 1992, Mozambique's
economy was devastated by a protracted civil war and socialist
mismanagement. In 1994, it ranked as one of the poorest countries in the
world. Since then, Mozambique has undertaken a series of economic reforms.
Almost all aspects of the economy have been liberalized to some extent.
More than 900 state enterprises have been privatized. Pending are tax and much needed commercial code reform, as well as greater private sector involvement in the transportation, telecommunications, and energy sectors.
Since 1996, inflation has been low and foreign exchange rates stable.
Albeit from a small base, Mozambique's economy grew at an annual 10% rate in 1997-99, one of the highest growth rates in the world. Still, the country depends on foreign assistance to balance the budget and to pay for a trade imbalance in which imports outnumber exports by five to one or more. The medium-term outlook for the country looks bright, as trade and transportation links to South Africa and the rest of the region are expected to improve and sizable foreign investments materialize. Among these investments are metal production (aluminum, steel), natural gas, power generation, agriculture (cotton, sugar), fishing, timber, and transportation services. Additional exports in these areas should bring in needed foreign exchange. In addition, Mozambique is on track to receive a formal cancellation of a large portion of its external debt through a World
Rwanda. Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population
engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely
populated country in Africa; is landlocked; and has few natural resources
and minimal industry. Primary exports are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide
decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the
population, particularly women, and eroded the country's ability to attract
private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made significant
progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy. GDP has rebounded, and inflation has been curbed. In June 1998, Rwanda signed an Enhanced
Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) with the IMF. Rwanda has also embarked upon an ambitious privatization program with the World Bank.
Continued growth in 2000 depends on the maintenance of international aid levels and the strengthening of world prices of coffee and tea.
Zambia. Despite progress in privatization and budgetary reform,
Zambia's economy has a long way to go. The recent privatization of the huge government-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) should greatly improve Zambia's prospects for international debt relief, as the government will no longer have to cover the mammoth losses generated by that sector.
Inflation and unemployment rates remain high, however.
Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult
economic problems as it struggles to consolidate earlier progress in
developing a market-oriented economy. Its involvement in the war in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, has already drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF suffers delays in part because of the country's failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 59% in 1999.
The economy is being steadily weakened by AIDS; Zimbabwe has the highest rate of infection in the world. Per capita GDP, which is twice the average of the poorer sub-Saharan nations, will increase little if any in the near- term, and Zimbabwe will suffer continued frustrations in developing its agricultural and mineral resources.
So the generalization is obvious. The countries which have the highest
GDP per capita are oil, gas as well as other raw materials exporters.
Almost none of the countries has stable source of incomes. Oil exporters are in a better condition then the last, but it has a number of negative consequences. The first is that their economy are heavily dependant on the oil prices. The next is that even the richest resources may be easily wasted if the incomes are not managed properly. The corruption in a government, continuous possibility of warfare wouldn’t let foreign capital flow easily into these countries. Even the oil fields couldn’t attract investitions if there’s no political stability. Though the most population of these countries are involved in agriculture the most of them couldn’t provide enough food for themselves. The reason is simple lack of water resources. A number of countries having a lot of resources are not able to use them efficently because of continuous warfares, which are draining budgets. These are the major negative facts considering African economy, but there are a lot of positive ones.
According to ECA’s "Africa Economic Report 2000" shows, for five years
running, Africa's GDP has grown faster than its population, reversing the
falling living standards of the previous 15 years. While growth trends for
the region as a whole remain depressed, some African countries are doing
well. Fourteen countries have grown on average by 4 percent a year during
the 1990s, with rising annual incomes of 2-3 percent and even higher, with
another 10 countries following close behind with growth rates above 3
percent a year. Some countries have grown at 7 percent a year or higher
(Mozambique, 7 percent, and Uganda, 7.1 percent). "These figures show us that economic reforms over recent years have slowly but surely improved growth in many African countries and allowed the private sector to take root," says Alan Gelb, Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa region.
"However, despite this rising trend, countries are still vulnerable to conflict and external shocks in world markets, such as the recent rapid increase in oil prices and fallout from the East Asia crisis. These two forces have together produced highly unfavorable terms of trade for oil importers."
Now shortly about the social indicators. Although life expectancy has
risen slightly in Africa, this is happening at a slower rate than elsewhere
and, since 1990 the HIV/AIDS epidemic has caused it to decline, especially
in countries with high adult infection rates. In Zimbabwe, for example, life expectancy has fallen by five years, while in Botswana, it has fallen
by over ten. Life Expectancy at birth is ranging between 37 year (Sierra
Leonne) and 71.8 year (Seychelles). The rule is that Africans living in countries beset by conflict are more likely to have shorter life expectancy at birth and have higher infant mortality rates than other more stable countries. Sierra Leone is a striking illustration of this trend with the region's lowest life expectancy rate at just 37 years, and its highest infant mortality rate at 169 deaths per one thousand. Child mortality is a particularly acute problem for many countries in Africa. Infant mortality is close to 10 percent, and on average 151 of every 1,000 children die before the age of 5, although in many countries the mortality rate exceeds
200 per 1,000. Illiteraci level is extremelly high for the whole territory of Africa. Population per physician oscillates in the following range lowest: 827 (Seychelles), highest: 53986 (Niger). There’s no use to say that population per hospital bed is also in very poor condition. Despite major strides that had been made in the eradication of malaria, the disease is on the rise again throughout Africa. Elsewhere in the world HIV/AIDS is on the decline. In Africa, HIV/AIDS has reached pandemic proportions, threatening to wipe out Africa’s fragile social and economic gains. Two- thirds of the world’s 34 million AIDS sufferers are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Today in 21 African countries more than 7 percent of adults live with
HIV/AIDS, with the highest absolute number of cases found in South Africa, where one in every five adults has contracted the virus. Countries like
Niger, Sudan, and Mauritania, which have some of the lowest incidence of
AIDS in the region, offer great potential for control.Yet as countries like
Senegal and Uganda show, with the necessary political will and resources, the AIDS pandemic can be rolled back. A little bit better situaion is observed in the sphere of education. The new report shows that Africa has made more progress in education than in health with literacy rates improving for both men and women. At 41 percent, the illiteracy rate in the region is still high compared to rest of the world, but it is at its lowest point ever. Of particular significance is the advance being made in girls' education. While this represents welcome progress, far more needs to be done. Half of Africa's children of school going age are out of school; this is even lower in rural areas and among girls.
The statistical data may vary depending on source due to the
insufficent automatization of statistical institutions of the region.
That’s why World Bank approved a grant to transfer systems to six Southern
African countries (Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Zambia) to strengthen their statistical reporting capabilities. "The quality of development data depends on the source. Our goal is to empower statistical offices in Africa, and help them to move from hand-written
National Account tables to a modern system that is easy to adopt, maintain, and capable of delivering quality data," says Ziad Badr, the team leader of
African Development Indicators 2001, and a senior World Bank economist in its Africa region. "This will bring statistical institutions in Africa into the new millennium, and provide a reliable system to measure development progress and identify remaining challenges."
In summary, macro balances, or getting the prices right, is not economic reform just as casting a ballot is not democracy. The hallmarks of a capable state are strong institutions of governance; a sharp focus on the needs of the poor; powerful watchdogs; the rule of law; intolerance of corruption; transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs; respect for human rights; participation by all citizens in the decisions that affect their lives; as well as the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector and civil society.
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