Despite Setbacks, Africa Seen as Key Player in Future

Published on IPS, by Thalif Deen, November 22, 2010.

As the international community commemorated Africa Industrialisation Day last week, United Nations officials expressed mixed emotions about a beleaguered continent plagued by a rash of political, economic and military crises.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that a continuing global economic crisis has not only reduced the demand for African exports but also constricted foreign aid and hindered the flow of remittances to the cash-strapped continent.  

As a result, Africa’s share of the weakened global economy remains “disproportionately low”, he said.

The U.N. Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) pointed out last week that Africa has been hit by major supply-side constraints primarily because of the global food, fuel and financial crises … //

… Listing the significant progress made by African countries recently, UNDP points out that Nigeria’s National Special Programme for Food Security has contributed to a doubling of production and income of farmers in that country.

A national input subsidy programme has helped Malawi achieve a 53 percent food surplus in 2007, from a 43 percent national food deficit in 2005.

In Rwanda, contraceptive prevalence increased from 10 percent in 2005 to 26 percent in 2008.

A new report titled “Economic Diversification of Africa: A Review of Selected Countries” presents new development strategies highlighting diversification and also transport corridors between countries and hubs related to telecommunications and science and technology.

The study, jointly produced by the U.N. Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), NEPAD and OECD, provide case studies of five countries from different subregions with different development processes: South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia, Angola and Benin. (END)
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