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Washington, DC
Africa | Africa
2013-06-13T18:51:52Z | 2013-06-13T18:51:52Z | 2004

This year's edition of the World Bank publication, African Development Indicators (ADI) 2004, depicts a diverse picture of development in Africa, with several countries making remarkable progress and others lagging seriously behind. ADI 2004 presents data for more than 500 indicators of development for 53 countries. Thirteen Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries averaged more than 5 percent growth for the period 1995-2002, but many others saw their economies contract, usually as a result of severe civil conflict and adverse weather conditions. The region's economic growth slowed in 2002 to 2.8 percent, slightly down from 2.9 percent in 2001. Net foreign direct investment flows continued on a rising trend and reached $8.9 billion in 2002. These continued to be heavily concentrated in oil exporting countries and South Africa. The increase in official aid to the region fell far below the levels required to put a significant dent on poverty or achieve the MDGs. Debt relief is playing a larger role in Africa's resource picture, as total debt service relief reached $43 billion in fiscal year 2003, at a time when, as the book notes, "pro-poor expenditures had begun to increase in most of the countries". Gross enrollment in primary schools recovered to 87 percent, up from 80 percent in 1980. The increase contributed to a drop in illiteracy rates from 47 percent in 1997 to 37 percent in 2002. Tracking the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the book reveals that almost 30 million Africans are infected and eleven million children have been orphaned. In 2001 alone, 2.2 million AIDS-related deaths were recorded on the continent. Bearing the diverse performance in mind, the publication notes that Africa urgently needs rich nations to deliver on their promises of more generous aid and wider trade opportunities to reverse the exacting cruelty of disease and poverty on the continent. Civil wars, the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, anemic aid, persistent low growth rates and weak commodity prices, threaten gains of the recent years in overall poverty alleviation and may jeopardize Africa's chances of attaining some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.


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