Economic Turnabout In Africa

November 7, 1986

Report Outline
Fresh Breezes in Africa
Reforms for a Continent
The Challenge Ahead
Special Focus

Fresh Breezes in Africa

The drought is over, the rains have come and Africa's famine has ended. Images of starving African children, which prompted a worldwide relief effort two years ago, no longer flash across the television screens of faraway countries. Yet Africa is still a continent on the brink of an economic crisis of staggering proportions. The grim reality is that 25 years after independence, and after massive injections of foreign aid, sub-Saharan Africa is poorer today than it was at the end of colonial rule, and is getting poorer all the time.

While most African countries could feed themselves 20 years ago, today imported grain accounts for one-fifth of the region's cereal needs. Africa produces babies faster than any other continent, yet it is the only one where food productivity is declining. Each year 24,000 square miles of African land is turned into desert by overgrazing, deforestation and poor farming practices. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that if current trends continue, Africa can expect chronic famines that will be “far worse—if that is imaginable—than those of recent, times.”

Africa's international debt more than quadrupled between 1975 and 1983, and is still growing. Declining export receipts mean that the continent is less able to repay those debts than even the most heavily indebted Latin American countries. Investors, both African and foreign, are putting their money elsewhere. Blight and decay are widespread. Hospitals, schools, roads, railways and bridges are deteriorating at an alarming rate. In country after country, power, water, transportation and telephone systems either do not work or work only occasionally.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 23, 2018  Africa in Transition
Jul. 10, 2015  Terrorism in Africa
Nov. 20, 2012  Booming Africa
Apr. 05, 2011  Conflict in Congo
Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
Jun. 2009  The Troubled Horn of Africa
Sep. 2008  Crisis in Darfur
Jan. 2008  China in Africa
Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
Aug. 27, 2004  Stopping Genocide
Aug. 29, 2003  Aiding Africa
Nov. 08, 2002  Famine in Africa
Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
Jan. 14, 1994  South Africa's Future
Mar. 23, 1990  U.S. Role in South Africa's Future
Nov. 07, 1986  Economic Turnabout In Africa
Jan. 17, 1986  Angola and the Reagan Doctrine
Sep. 09, 1983  South Africa's ‘Total Strategy’
Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
Sep. 03, 1976  Africa and the Big Powers
Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
Feb. 28, 1968  Nigeria at War
Nov. 02, 1966  White Outposts in Southern Africa
Feb. 03, 1965  Congo Dilemma
Aug. 12, 1964  Red Rivalry in Africa
May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
Sep. 28, 1960  Education for Africans
Apr. 10, 1959  Power Struggles in Colonial Africa
Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
Sep. 11, 1957  Future of Algeria
Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
Feb. 20, 1952  Nationalism in North Africa
Dec. 04, 1942  War Resources in Africa
May 29, 1935  Pre-War and Post-War Imperialism in Africa
Economic Development
International Finance
Regional Political Affairs: Africa