Africa’s Continuing Crises: The Elusiveness of Development

  • John Ravenhill
Part of the Macmillan International Political Economy Series book series

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is currently suffering an economic crisis of a magnitude unprecedented in its recent history. According to the World Bank, ‘a real possibility’ exists that per capita incomes will fall below those levels which prevailed when most countries gained their independence, 25 years ago. Although impressive welfare gains have been made in the interim in areas such as health care, education, and housing, these are threatened by the continuing and deepening economic crisis. Already, as Green and Singer note, the welfare gap between Africa and other least developed countries has widened.3 SubSaharan Africa is the only region in which per capita food production has declined over the last two decades. Not coincidentally, it is the region with the fastest growth of population and the only one in which rates of population growth are projected to increase during the 1980s.

Keywords

Sugar Maize Economic Crisis Europe Income 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA and Africa’s Development, 1983–2008 (Addis Ababa: ECA, 1983) pp. 93–4.Google Scholar
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    Compensatory financing is particularly important in helping to reduce the negative effects of fluctuating export earnings to which countries like those of Africa, heavily dependent on a limited number of export products, are particularly vulnerable. When linked to the earnings of individual export crops, as is the case with the Lomé Conventions’ STABEX scheme, compensatory financing may assist governments to maintain producer prices at a time of (presumably) temporarily declining world prices. This assumes, however, that the compensatory financing will be utilised in the sector suffering export loss. In the experience of STABEX this has not been the case. For compensatory financing to work in this manner, greater conditionality on use of funds would have to be imposed. Despite a decade of attempting this, the EEC has not been successful. See John Ravenhill, ‘What is to be Done for Third World Commodity Producers? An Evaluation of the STABEX Scheme’, International Organization, vol. 38 (Summer 1984) no. 3, pp. 537–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© John Ravenhill 1986

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