Hope for Sub-Saharan Africa Diluted by Environment Concerns

By Mbuya, Judith | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 18, 1997 | Go to article overview

Hope for Sub-Saharan Africa Diluted by Environment Concerns


Mbuya, Judith, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Despite recent reports by the World Bank and the European Commission that the economies of sub-Saharan African nations are improving, efforts to restrict environmental pollution may work against future successes.

A recent report released by David Montgomery, a leading economist on changes in global climate, said a large number of developing nations will suffer significant economic harm from policies now being considered by the United Nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Economic losses of up to 3 percent of gross domestic product may occur as a result of reduced international trade in 2030," Mr. Montgomery warned.

Even though developing countries have no obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the the terms of current international climate negotiations, "this reduction in economic growth will occur," he continued.

He stressed that "the entire world is connected through international trade, and all countries will be affected if economic growth slows in the industrial countries."

International organizations have reported that in the past two years more than half the 48 sub-Saharan countries had shown growth rates of at least 5 percent. By contrast, in 1995 growth rates in 35 countries were 1.4 percent.

But even with such promising growth, according to the World Bank, 45 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's population still lives on less than $1 per day.

Representatives from more than 50 countries met in Bonn last week for the latest round of climate negotiations stemming from the ad hoc group of the Berlin Mandate.

The talks were held under the aegis of the United Nations, following a 1995 Berlin agreement instructing the negotiators to devise plans that would reduce environmental emissions after 2000. …

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