Short Overview of African Countries

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But not only the economic problems were quaking the continent. Continuous warfares wouldn’t give a chance to develop national economy of that region. But what is the present situation there? It seemed like the countries stepped on a way of democracy, but as a recent World Bank report on Africa notes, "a sharp distinction should be drawn between formal and real democratisation". During the 1990s, 45 out of 50 African countries held multiparty elections, in addition to the four African countries that had such a system at the start of the decade. But in only ten elections did these lead to a change of government. With the significant exception of Senegal, the trend in the most recent elections on the continent appears to be one of even fewer changes in government. According to the OAU (Organization of African Unity), 26 African conflicts have taken place since 1963, affecting 61 percent of the population. Today, 21 percent of Africa's peoples are in war and conflict (Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Comores, Congo, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda). It is comparable with Asia (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tibet) or even Europe (Balkans, Northern Ireland, Russia or Spain). According to a recent survey on political rights and civil liberties by Freedom House, 23 out of 50 African countries are classified as "not free". But overall, over the last decade Freedom House has moved Africa’s status from "not free" to "partly free"- a significant improvement. Where there is conflict there is no democracy, there is hardly an economy, and- as we've seen in Somalia and Liberia - one may even question whether there is a state. Poverty, political instability and war go together.

3. African economy today

Economists use a number of indicators to measure a welfare of population of given country. Undoubtaly the most important of them are GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and GNP (Gross National Product). In order to make the comparision more expressive, these indexes are calculated not in absolute values but per capita. This method helps researchers to disengage themselves from the size of the country. Two of other important indicators are Life Expectancy at Birth and Illiteracy Rate.

In 1998 real GDP growth was higher in Africa than any other developing region, while inflation was slightly higher than in Asia and significantly lower than other developing regions. Half the world's ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, although growing off very low bases.

1999 was not a good year for Africa. Armed conflict increased and looks set to continue. The slow-down in the world economy affected stock markets; caused currencies to depreciate; and reduced foreign exchange income from oil, minerals and metals and agricultural products. Aid to the region is reducing and investors are having second thoughts, leaving many projects on the drawing board. Aids, malaria, cholera and other diseases are rampant. Foreign debt servicing and corruption mean that little foreign exchange trickles through to fund education, health and infrastructure. Tourism and, strangely enough, information technology provide the best hope for the dark continent.

The highest GNP per capita from the mentioned countries have Botswana($3240), Algeria($1550) and the lowest Chad($210), Rwanda($250). There’s no need to bring the whole figures in the text but I want to mention some common clauses.

· 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.

Реферат опубликован: 5/02/2007