Short Overview of African Countries

PLAN

   1. Introduction
   2. Africa in postcolonial period
   3. African economy today
   4. Economic organizations in Africa
   5. Problems and ways to solve them
   6. Conclusion
                               1. Introduction

      It isnt a secret that Republic of Armenia as  well  as  other  former
socialist republics is at
 the end of the list of countries in terms of economy, but  almost  everyone
speaking about our country mentions that there are  a  number  of  countries
having more troubles with economy then our. Listening to this kind of  words
makes listener think about Africa,  Sahara  the  countries  situated  there.
Algeria (which situated in north Africa), Angola, Botswana, Cameroon,  Chad,
Djibouti, Ghana,  Kenya,  Lesotho,  Mozambique,  Rwanda,  Zaire  (Democratic
republic of Congo), Zambia, Zimbabwe and  a  lot  of  others  are  countries
traditionally considered to be the poorest part of the world.  This  is  the
common image of Africa. in the following report I would try to  introduce  a
little bit detailed picture of this object.
      I think it will be better to begin with short historical  overview  of
the region, which is the home of one of  the  human  races.  The  historians
have defined four periods of African history research.
   1. This period is 2000 B.C. up to 6-th  century  A.D.  During  that  time
      Egyptians were researching the north of the mainland. In  6th  century
      B.C. Carthaginians travelled along the west  coast.  Roman  travellers
      went far into Libyan desert.
   2. 7-14 centuries A.D. This is  a  period  of  Arabian  invasions.  After
      conquering the north they moved to the south and reached  Senegal  and
      Niger rivers.
   3. The third period of research is associated with the  Europeans  desire
      to find a sea way to the wealth of India.  By  the  end  of  sixteenth
      century the continent has been outlined on maps.
   4. This period of African history, which begins in eighteenth century  is
      probably the most shameful part of European history. Europeans blinded
      with the magnificence of African wealth began sacking  its  territory,
      the same way as they did it in America.



                      2. Africa in postcolonial period
      From this time and up to 20-th century African continent was a big
colony of a number of European countries. After a century of rule by
France, Algeria became independent in 1962. Angola  former Portugal colony
got its freedom in 1975. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland,
Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. The former French
Cameroon and part of British Cameroon merged in 1961 to form the present
country. Chad was a part of France's African holdings until 1960. The
French Territory of the Afars and the Issas became Djibouti in 1977. Formed
from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland
trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first country in colonial Africa
to gain its independence. Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho
upon independence from the UK in 1966. Mozambique almost five centuries was
a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Rwanda gains
its independence in 1962. The territory of Northern Rhodesia was
administered by the South Africa Company from 1891 until takeover by the UK
in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development
and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964.
The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A
1961 constitution was formulated to keep whites in power. In 1965 the
government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not
recognize the act and demanded voting rights for the black African majority
in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla
uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as
Zimbabwe) in 1980. But even after formal independence most countries are
heavily dependant on Europe in terms of investitions and aids. After the
"lost decade" of the eighties when tumbling commodity prices, debt,
economic and political mismanagement brought African economies to near
bankruptcy, the majority of African countries have embarked on
International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and donor supported economic
reform programmes. In December of year 2000, the World Bank gave US$155
million in credits to help seven African countries  Madagascar, Mali,
Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda  cope with an unexpected
surge in oil prices and other losses in their terms of trade. These factors
were causing serious hardship for the poor in terms of rising energy and
transportation costs, which in turn were jeopardizing the success of the
countries' reform programs. Still, poverty is higher in Africa than in any
other region of the world. According to the latest data  two out of five
Africans subsist below a poverty line of less than $20 per month; the
majority of these are women. This mean that some 300 million Africans live
on barely 65 cents a day. Africa has the most unequal distribution of
income of any region in the world. The richest twenty percent of Africans
own 51 percent of total income, compared to 40 percent in western countries
and in South Asia. The last report on Africa made by World Bank group also
shows how civil conflict in the region has blunted and reversed growth
prospects for war-torn countries. While the trend for many African
countries during the 1990s was one of slow but steady economic improvement,
those in conflict suffered negative growth and an alarming deterioration in
basic conditions (Angola -0.2 percent, Burundi -2.4 percent, Democratic
Republic of Congo, -4.6 percent, Rwanda, -2.1 percent, Sierra Leone, -4.6
percent). In essence, the present forecast is that the world's poverty will
become even more concentrated in Africa.
      But not  only  the  economic  problems  were  quaking  the  continent.
Continuous warfares wouldnt 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 Africas 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).
Theres 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. Thats why Im 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
Bank initiative.
      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 wouldnt let  foreign  capital
flow easily into these countries.  Even  the  oil  fields  couldnt  attract
investitions if theres no political stability. Though the  most  population
of these countries are involved in agriculture the  most  of  them  couldnt
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 ECAs "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).  Theres  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 Africas fragile social  and  economic  gains.  Two-
thirds of the worlds 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.
Thats 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.
                     4. Economic organizations in Africa

      The main economic power of Africa south of the Sahara Desert is  South
African Republic. Through its well developed  infrastructure  and  deepwater
ports, South Africa handles  much  of  the  trade  for  the  whole  southern
African region. In 1970 its immediate neighbours,  Botswana,  Swaziland  and
Lesotho, and latterly Namibia, signed the  Southern  African  Customs  Union
(SACU) enabling them to share  in  the  customs  revenue  from  their  trade
passing through South African  ports.  In  order  to  counter  the  economic
dominance of South Africa in the southern African region, the  countries  to
the north of it organised themselves into the Southern  African  Development
Conference (SADC). Member states include  those  of  the  SACU  as  well  as
Angola, situated north of Namibia, and it's  oil-rich  enclave  of  Cabinda,
and Mozambique on  the  east  coast,  and  the  countries  of  south-central
Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and  Malawi.  Kenya,  Uganda  and  Tanzania  signed
Treaty for Enhanced East African Co-operation in order to  allow  free  flow
of goods and people. The  small  landlocked  central  African  countries  of
Rwanda and Burundi form part of  an  economic  union  of  countries  in  the
central African region. Other members of the Economic Community  of  Central
African States are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad,  Equatorial
Guinea, the oil-rich Congo and Gabon and the vast country of the  Democratic
Republic of Congo. The Economic Community of West  African  States  (ECOWAS)
is a solid geographical bloc of 15  states  from  Nigeria  in  the  east  to
Mauritania in the west. The countries of  Mauritania,  Mali  and  Niger  are
located in the southern stretch of the Sahara  Desert  while  the  remaining
countries are splayed out along  the  coast  line.  As  a  result  of  their
respective colonial histories, these countries are divided into  French  and
English-speaking states. The francophone countries include the republics  of
Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, the  Ivory  Coast  (Cte  d'Ivoire),  Guinea  and
Senegal while the  remaining  states  of  Nigeria,  Ghana,  Liberia,  Sierra
Leone, and the Gambia have English as their official language. The  Republic
of Guinea Bissau is a Portuguese-speaking state to the south of Senegal.

                     5. Problems and ways to solve them

      The biggest challenge to doing business  in  Africa  is  the  lack  of
quality information about Africa. Some of the  other  challenges  of  Africa
are:
         . fluctuating currencies
         . bureaucratic red tape, which is slowly getting  easier  to  wade
           through
         . graft and corruption
         . nepotism
         . wars and unrest, though the changes in South Africa are starting
           to create a ripple of peace and democracy throughout the region
         . lack of local capital
         . monopolies  such  as  marketing  boards,  state  trading  firms,
           foreign  exchange  restrictions,  trade  taxes  and  quotas  and
           concentration on limited commodities all place a disincentive on
           exports, thus delinking Africa from the world economy.
         .   lack   of   infrastructure,   though   in   areas   such    as
           telecommunications  and  energy,  Africa  is  able  to  use  new
           technologies to leapfrog more advanced economies
      However, none of these challenges is  insurmountable;  in  fact,  some
entrepreneurs would contend that African risk is lower  than  that  even  of
North America.
      There is hardly could be a person, who is  able  to  resolve  all  the
problems considering the challenges in the list. But there are a  number  of
tasks to be completed in order to improve  the  quality  of  life  and  gain
stable economic growth.
      Resource mobilization To halve poverty by 2015 countries must reach
the 8 percent growth in GDP each year, instead of present 4.4 %. To reach
this rate investments must be 40 percent of gross domestic product. Even
with major increase in domestic savings, there are still huge financing
gaps. Africas rate of return on Foreign Direct Investment is 29 percent
per year, higher than any other region of the world. Annual average foreign
investment flows have increased from $1.9 billion in 1983-87 to $6 billion
in 1993-97. But this is just 4 percent of the total investment pouring into
developing countries. In the face of global financial volatility, Africa's
nascent capital markets have also remained buoyant. Yet institutional
investors remain resistant to the possibilities in Africa. African
countries have undertaken significant economic reforms, but investment has
not come.
      Regional co-operation Regional integration is the key to Africa's
success in the 21st century. The challenge is for the subregional
initiatives to march together and in step with the World Trade
Organization.
      Information technology  Information and communication technologies
present some of the most exciting possibilities for Africa in the new
millennium. With new ways to communicate we can leapfrog through several
stages of development; cut the cost of doing business; and narrow the gap
of huge distances. At ECA, we want to make sure that Africans are drivers,
not passengers, on the information highway says Dr. K.Y. Amoko, executive
secretary, Economic Comission for Africa. at the National Summit on Africa
held in Washington D.C. 17 February 2000. There was registered a
significant growth in Internet spreading through the continent. E-Commerce,
television and radio are also developing rapidly.
      Governance Ensuring and sustaining good governance must be an African
responsibility, first and foremost.
      Social investment. Social spending has become a major casualty of
recent budget cuts in many African countries. To expect that Africa can
progress when investment in its human capital is declining is a classic
case of being penny wise and pound foolish. Social investment challenges of
health, education, housing, water supplies and sanitation are enormous and
demand the creativity and partnership of all caring parties.
      Gender equality Excluding Islamic countries, Africa is the most
remarkable region in terms of discrimination against women. Since the UN's
Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the world better
understands the need to free women to become equal participants in
development. This is not just a matter of rights but of good economic
sense. It is past time to lead by rhetoric; it is time to lead by
example. (from the National Summit on Africa documents)
      Preventing conflict The world has learned expensively that it is
cheaper and far more humane to prevent conflict than to fight a war. So it
is one of the most actual problems for African countries. To quote the UN
Secretary General, "in the past twenty years we have understood the need
for military intervention where governments grossly violate human rights
and the international order. In the next twenty years we must learn how to
prevent conflicts, as well as intervene in them." Peace can no longer be
just about peace making and peace keeping. It is also about peace building.
      African diaspora must also take part in ongoing processes. A lot of
Africans live in European countries as well as in United States. They are
able to help their historical homes in three major ways.
      First, Become an Advocate for Africa: For every devastating image of
Africa they see on television, not far from that camera there is an image
of people striving to develop. As a start, they should visit Africa, spread
the word about it, become a personal lobbyists for Africa. They must lobby
for African products in their stores; lobby for strong US-Africa ties.
      Second, Invest in Africa: Investing in Africa could be profitable. Now
is the time for African-Americans to put their money where their mouths
are. They can invest in Africa, through such convenient ways as the mutual
funds that concentrate on Africa. Members of other diasporas have
accelerated development in their ancestral homelands through widespread
individual investments. Surely African-Americans can do it, too.
      Third, Invest politically in Africa, 40 percent of United Nations
assistance is currrently going to Africa. When the US and other flourishing
countries pay their    UN dues, when someone pays voluntary contributions
to United Nations he/she helps Africa. Foreign aid helps building schools
as well as improving governance in terms of  efficancy.
      While many write  off  Africa  as  the  continent  of  despair,  other
enterprising  individuals  and  organisations  have  recognised  the   huge,
untapped potential of Africa and are  actively  pursuing  business  ventures
across the continent.
      African Development Indicators show clearly where the regions greatest
social challenges and opportunities lie. Indeed, Africa's future economic
growth will depend less on exploiting its natural resources, which are
being depleted and are subject to long-run price declines, and more on its
labor skills and its ability to accelerate a demographic transition.
      Africa's opportunities, which range in risk from investing in emerging
market funds or one  of  the  listed  multinationals  active  in  Africa  to
trading with African partners, include:
         . oil and gas (Angola and Libya);
         . mining (West and Central Africa);
         . privatisations (South Africa and Nigeria);
         . international trade (oil producers and SADC);
         . infrastructure (pipelines, roads, telecommunications);
         . stock exchanges that are mushrooming in many countries
         . using educated English and French speaking African nationals
         . and leisure (big game + beaches + golf + climate +  satellite  +
           Internet + cell  +  low  cost  structure  =  huge  telecommuting
           opportunity).
      However,  perhaps  Africa's   greatest   opportunity   lies   in   its
biodiversity, which ranges from Sahara desert to tropical jungle, from snow-
capped volcanic Mount Kilamanjaro to the beaches of East  and  West  Africa.
Then there is the excitement of stalking big game in  the  African  bush  to
the thrill of whitewater rafting through the gorges below Victoria Falls  or
the awe of seeing the Egyptian pyramids  at  sunrise.  Africa  is  going  to
become the telecommuting centre of the world, in the short to  medium  term,
ecotourism provides the opportunity to develop leisure complexes  which  can
take advantage of game parks, golf courses, beaches  and  beautiful  scenery
one day. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as a  single  engine  train,
but rather a jumbo jet, with several engines revving up for  take  off,  and
several more  back  ups  in  case  of  engine  failure.  said  K.Y.  Amoako
Executive Secretary of ECA at the 40th Anniversary of Africa Confidential.

                                6. Conclusion

      At the end few words comparing Armenia with the  African  region.  The
main difference is different natural resources of  these  regions.  Africans
may get started their economic growth with incomes from exporting oil,  gas,
precious metals and jewels. Alas, Armenia have no this option.  Our  country
have no significant resources to exploit them or not to  exploit,  meanwhile
for Africa devastation of resources may stimulate the economy  in  the  case
of peace and efficient government. There are also a lot  of  differences  in
terms of agriculture. Arfican countries cover wide territory, but they  have
problems with irrigation. In the case of Armenia it is  important  to  note,
that the situation is just the opposite. Even the most severe  droughts  can
not be compared with deserted areas of black  continent,  but  the  land  is
highly limited. I think that the last  point  of  comparison,  which  is  as
important as the previous ones, is the labour force. Labour force is one  of
the main differences  between  former  USSR  republics  and  the  developing
countries of African region. As a result of USSR educational system  Armenia
has educational level which can  be  easily  compared  even  with  the  most
developed countries.The level of literacy is 99%, which is  higher  than  in
African countries. Armenian in spheres  of  programming,  medicine,  science
highly priced all over the world. The main problem in these sphere is  brain
drain. So the primary task for government is to stop this process. With  the
foreign investitions  Armenia  is  able  to  establish  advanced  technology
production, which is not available  for  Africans.  This  could  be  a  good
impulse to become a new tiger.
      So  our  regions  have  different  prerequisits,  different  ways   of
developing,  but  same  aim,  and  unfortunately  obstacles  in   terms   of
government and unstable peace.
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Algeria

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Angola

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Botswana

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Cameroon

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Chad

[pic]Congo(Zaire)

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Djibouti



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Ghana

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Kenya

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Lesotho

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Mozambique

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Rwanda

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Zambia

[pic] Zimbabwe




"Short Overview of African Countries "