Short Overview of African Countries

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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.

Реферат опубликован: 1/03/2009