Prospects for Africa's Economic Recovery and Development
MICHEL DOO KINGUÉ
For the last twenty years, African countries have been facing very serious development challenges after experiencing a few years of noticeable econonmic growth in the early 1960s. I shall summarize these challenges by mentioning only seven of them, which I consider to be the major ones today.
The first major development challenge is the current African financial crisis compounded by the debt crisis and the worsening of terms of trade. A few figures will enable you to have an idea of the importance of that challenge.
In his book published in 1973, entitled One Hundred Countries, Two Billior, People, the then President of the World Bank, Robert McNamara, predicted the financial crisis that is now affecting developing countries, particularly the countries of Africa. He used the following words:
The truth is that if ODA [official development assistance] flows level off at substantially less than the target for the decade, mounting debt problems for the developing world are inevitable. In the face of an ODA deficit, the developing countries would either have to reduce their rates of growth or increase their debts above reasonable levels. They are likely to do both.
Since the mid- 1950's, publicly guaranteed debt has been growing at about 14 percent a year . . . . Servicing of debt rose by 18 percent in 1970 and by 20 percent in 1971. The average rate of increase since the 1960's has been about twice the rate at which export earnings from which debt must be serviced, have been growing. Such a relationship cannot continue indefinitely.
And Mr. McNamara concluded that: