A Proposal for Co-operative Relief of Debt in Africa (CORDA)
For the last 15 years the economic situation in sub-Saharan African countries has undergone continuous deterioration, and has reached the point where not only their prospects of future development but also their ability to maintain reasonable living standards for a large fraction of the population are seriously compromised. During the years 1973–80 the Gross Domestic Product of this region grew, in constant prices, at the low annual rate of 3.2 per cent, exactly half of the growth rate during the years 1965–73 (6.4 per cent); this is barely greater than the mean annual rate of population growth. The situation in Africa has further deteriorated during the 1980s as, for most of these years, real Gross Domestic Product growth has been negative.2 On the other hand, per capita investment in 1987 was below what it was in the mid-1960s while, as measured against its 1980 level, it has gone down by one-third. According to the World Bank, the chronic debt problems of Africa justify today the term ‘crisis’: ‘the development process in these countries has stalled. The effects will be measured not simply in terms of falling average living standards but of the relapse into poverty of large sections of the populations.’3
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