Does Africa have to suffer forever?
- The impact on growth in the euro area
- An economic slowdown
- Possible solutions
- A decline in interest rates
- A redefinition of the role of the ECB
The year 2010 marks the fiftieth anniversary of African independence. Fifty years following the granting of freedom, what assessment can one make of this continent where the decolonization process was stretched to the 1990s (Eritrea in 1993 and Namibia in 1990)? Africa is far from being a homogeneous entity; it has a veritable array of languages/dialects (over 2000), territories, climate, tribes and communities.
However, most countries in sub-Saharan Africa do have in common:
- Bleeding from the slavery which punctured the disabled population and the historical development of these countries;
- Colonial footprint;
- Often similar trajectory since independence, made up of territorial disputes, ethnic complexity, economic hardship and painful learning of democracy
Africa can be considered the only continent to have declined since independence, and is perceived as a continent away from globalization and economic and political development.
Hence it is legitimate to ask the cause of chronic underdevelopment that plagues the continent through the interference of the 1980s to the indifference of the 2000s. Gradually, Europe is slowly exercising substantial power over the African continent which, though forced to face enormous challenges, has experienced very positive developments.
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of poor in the world (50%).
- Poverty especially increased between 1981 and 2002; the number of poor has almost doubled (see international poverty line used by the World Bank since 2005: $1.25 per day).
- Africa accounts for 32 countries among the 50 LDCs.
- 9 countries (Central African Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Chad, Zimbabwe) in 2005 had a per capita income lower compared to 1960.
- The only continent where life expectancy is less than 60 years and where rather than sustaining, the rate has fallen since independence.
- Average of 47 years (WHO) in life expectancy with rates in Swaziland diving to 30 years).
- 1 in 7 children die before 5.
- AIDS: 2 / 3 of cases worldwide. Over 70% of cases of HIV deaths worldwide occur in Africa. If there were no deaths from AIDS, average life expectancy in Africa would be 62 years (WHO).
- Less than 60% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa can read and write with understanding, one of the lowest adult literacy rates in the world.
- Contrasts: literacy rate below 40% (threshold deemed to constitute a handicap to growth) in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Chad, but above 90 % in the Seychelles and Zimbabwe.
- Literacy is at or slightly below the level of the 1980s.
- Traditionally a land of conflict: Namibia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad, Great Lakes (Rwanda, Burundi), Somalia, Darfur.
- Sub-continent that has known more wars than any other since 1950, according to the Human Security Report 2009.
- Even today, there are still regional tensions and internal crises that could escalate into civil war (Ethiopia vs Eritrea, Morocco vs. Western Sahara, Frontiers in DR Congo, Central African Republic, Chad vs Sudan, Sudan-Darfur, Somalia).
Tags: African poverty, Human Security Report 2009, diversity in Africa