The International Monetary Fund and World Bank Friday had good things to say about the economic turnaround in Sub-Saharan Africa. VOA's Barry Wood reports.
Overall, Sub-Saharan African economies have registered over four percent annual growth for four consecutive years. That is Africa's best economic performance in over two decades. With world commodity prices high, the IMF expects African growth to accelerate to six percent this year.
World Bank economists identify 20 countries that have registered growth rates over four percent for ten consecutive years. Among the countries doing well are Uganda, Mali and Tanzania. IMF Africa department chief Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane is particularly upbeat about the achievements of Mozambique.
"Mozambique between 1997 and 2003 reduced poverty from 65 percent to 54 percent. And it is the only country where, amazingly, rural poverty has declined more than urban poverty. Mozambique has also doubled the number of children in primary schools," he said.
Mozambique registered 8 1/2 percent economic growth in 2006 and growth has exceeded seven percent for five consecutive years.
Much of the overall progress in Africa is due to the sharp run-up in commodity prices over the past five years. Africa remains heavily dependent on export of raw materials for earnings.
World Bank economist Mark Sundberg says more targeted and selective donor assistance has contributed to Africa's turnaround. "Aid is flowing more to countries with a good policy environment and to countries that have greater need. Selectivity on both of these dimensions is higher and it is particularly higher among multi-lateral banks, less so among bi-laterals (donors). But the trend is to improvement," he said.
But experts warn that much more needs to be done. Africa's share of world trade continues to shrink. And 40 percent of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa still subsist on incomes of only one dollar per day.